MY NEW YEAR’S WISH
As many of you are aware, the kids and I are in Pasadena to honor Lisa’s legacy in just as an important way, as hospital visitation equality and that is through organ/tissue donation. Of all that happened that horrible night on 2/18/2007, knowing Lisa’s wishes regarding organ donation, was the one decision I took comfort in. For 18 years, Lisa always said her body was just a vessel for her soul and when her soul was done with it, I was to make the best use of her body as I could.
Though I was reeling from over 8 hours of indifferent treatment at Jackson Memorial Hospital, and my failure to comfort Lisa in her last moments, I knew I was carrying out her lifelong desire to continue helping others through organ donation. Fortunately, once Lisa became an organ donor candidate, staff of LAORA (Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency), who were separate staff from Jackson Memorial, created a relaxed, welcoming and peaceful place for Lisa to spend her last moments with family and her children before organ donation. No longer did I feel unwelcome and I was even validated as Lisa’s spouse by signing the donation papers as her “spouse”.
The theme of the entire Rose parade is “Just Imagine” and the donate Life float’s theme to correspond is “just one more day”. For nearly five long years, I have imagined just one more day with Lisa. I have even imagined just having back the 8 hours stolen from the children, Lisa and myself in her final moments on earth. However, I also image all the “one more days” Jerry as well as the liver and 2 kidney recipients received because of Lisa’s selfless act of organ donation.
It is my sincerest wish that by knowing our family’s story I have inspired you. I hope I have inspired those of you who are not organ donors will consider this as a new year’s resolution AND act on it. For those of you who are organ donor’s (thank you) and are inspired by Lisa’s gift of life to 4 people, that you will inspire someone to become an organ donor in 2012.
I see a future of full equality and one where fewer people die while waiting for a transplant.
Peace and Happy New Year
PS you can tune in to watch for the Donate Life Parade – almost 1/2 through the parade on MONDAY 1/2/12 (yes it’s on the 2nd). Check your NBC and ABC local listing for times. Look for Lisa’s floragraph as seen in the link – of the pictures from yesterday as well as a glimpse of me riding the float.
~~~~~~~~ Local Hometown Coverage ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
LACEY, Wash. — Janice Langbehn considers herself an accidental activist. And this year, she is being honored greatly for her efforts.
Langbehn will be on the Donate Life float at the Rose Parade Monday morning. She will ride in honor of her partner, Lisa Pond, an organ donor who died nearly five years ago from a brain aneurysm while they were vacationing. Their story received national attention because Langbehn and their children were not allowed to visit Pond as she passed away in a hospital.
Following Pond’s death, Langbehn worked tirelessly to change the laws. President Obama recently revised hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples at hospitals receiving federal Medicare or Medicaid funds. For her efforts, Langbehn received the prestigious Presidential Citizens Medal in October, an honor that was awarded to only 13 people this year.
Langbehn is now preparing to honor her partner by riding in the Rose Parade. The Donate Life float will feature dozens of organ donors by displaying giant pictures of the donors that are made of flowers — known as floragraphs.
“I’m sure it’ll be emotional,” Langbehn said. “I still miss her. We were together 18 years.”
Langbehn wanted Jerry Lawrence, the Florida man who received Pond’s heart, to be in the grandstand during the parade. Lawrence was prepared to make the trip, but other health issues, not connected to his heart, kept him from flying.
So he will watch the parade on TV. And Langbehn knows her partner will be watching from above.
“I’m just honored they asked us,” she said. “To continue Lisa’s legacy.”