Sunday, January 2, 2011

Amazingly Wonderful!!

So this is really what I’ve been dying to blog about. The week after Christmas I had this undeniable desire to write a letter to Gabriel’s Recipient Family. The feeling was so strong that I found myself writing the letter in my head when I couldn’t sleep one night. The next day I went out looking for the perfect stationary and David thought I was crazy(he’s kind of right). I finally decided on letterhead I could print up and then hand write the letter. I got it all written and ready to go and then emailed my Intermountain Donor Services Liaison (Karen) to find out what to do next. She then emailed me the information I could include in the letter (nothing personal). But even before I had a chance to rewrite my letter to take out our last name, our email and blog address she called me and left a message that said, since I had a letter to send out she would go ahead and send me the letter she had just received from the recipient family for us. At first I was really excited and glad I’d followed my instincts to write the letter. Then I grew a little nervous as too how I would handle the letter from this family I think of everyday but really hadn’t thought much about hearing from. The next day Karen emailed me a PDF of the letter since she thought I’d like to have it sooner rather than wait for it in the mail. I read it immediately and didn’t even cry. The next few times I read it I did get teary eyed though. I am so glad that this little baby and family are doing well and wanted to contact us, what a blessing. Since there is no personal information in the letter I’m going to share with you what they say.

Dear Donor Family,

I know that it has taken us a while to write, but we can never find the words to express how truly thankful we are for you giving our baby the gift of life. We want to start by saying how truly sorry we are for your loss.

My name is Amber. I have been with Shaun for 2 years and we live in California. I currently work at an elementary school, but I would really love to become an I.C.U nurse. Shaun works at a family restaurant. We only have one child, but he keeps us pretty busy.

We really cannot thank you enough for what you did for our family. We found out our baby was sick at 6 weeks and 5 days old. It wasn’t until he was about 5 months old that we found out that he had a very rare x-link related genetic disorder called Barth Syndrome. The Barth Syndrome caused his heart to become enlarged. All together we were in the hospital for less than 5 months. One day after a blood transfusion, he took a turn for the worst and we were sent back into I.C.U. He was scheduled to receive a Berlin Heart on July 13, which would have taken him off the waiting list for one week. The Berlin Heart, however came a day late and we were miraculously offered the real heart.

Since his transplant, he has just grown so much and is doing everything right on schedule. We have a whole new outlook on life and we have you to thank. You will be forever a hero in our hearts and we will always think of you and your family every time we look at our little one. Thank you so very much again!

Forever thankful,
Amber, Shaun & Family!

My return letter introduced our family. Told them about our happy Gabriel and  briefly what happened to him. I hinted about our blog hoping that if they are curious they could search us out and read more. I also told them we’d love to stay in contact with them. I expressed our extreme honor to be able to give such an amazing gift and how blessed we feel because Gabriel was able to leave such a huge mark on the lives of so many when he returned to his Heavenly Father. I told them how we felt like this was part of his mission on earth and we are grateful to be his parents and to be able to save another family from such a difficult loss. I told them of our great joy when we heard that Gabe’s heart was placed in a 6 month baby boy in California and he was home and doing well. I included some photo’s of Gabriel and our family.

Really I couldn’t of imagined this letter coming at a better time. Christmas and the family gatherings have been difficult without Gabe here and his Birthday is this month and I’m unsure how I’ll handle that. So having this wonderful family let us know that their boy is doing well and that they are so truly thankful to us puts things into a perspective that makes it some what easier to bear.

Also as a reminder, please don’t forget about Books From Gabriel. My deadline to receive the books is January 19th. I will be taking them to the Hospital on Gabriel’s 2nd Birthday January 26th. I’ve already had several donated directly to me, and I’ve heard news of Stoddard Elementary in Blackfoot collecting more than 200 books for the cause. Also Ashley Sullenger took $75 of extra money donated for her Pay It Forward project and put it on  a Wal-Mart gift card for me to spend on books. I’m continually amazed of people’s generosity. Thank You!


  1. Goosebumps! Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this letter. HOw beautiful and what a wonderful gift your little Gabe has given. Priceless! And YAY for Stoddard! I knew we could do it! :) Can't wait to hear how it all turns out for Gabe's birthday books!!!!

  3. Amy- I'm so glad that you heard from the recipient family!! What a wonderful Christmas blessing. I can't even express to you how much I'm sure you mean to them. We think of our donor family every single day and are overwhelmed with gratitude for them. I thought about you a lot this past month. I'm sure it was difficult and I admire your strength. Hang in there- you inspire me!!!
    ps- I learned how to post a comment... just for you :)

  4. All I have to say is you are amazing! Thank you for sharing this amazing story! You truly are an angel! Thanks for being such a great example. Love you tons!

  5. They are all right! I can't even express how much you all mean to us! We have such a love for you and your family! You are our angels! Such a selfless thing you did for us and I wish I knew how I could repay you! I hope that we get to meet in person one day because honestly, I tried to find you too online as well, but didn't have as much luck! I told them after Jack's transplant that I was ready for write you that same day! They said that I should wait at least a year! I burst into tears when I heard that just a couple weeks later, you were asking about us and wanting to make sure that everything went good! You just need to know how truly amazing you are!