An Open Letter To My Sister's Donor Family
Relationships

An Open Letter To My Sister's Donor Family

Enjoy the little things in life, some day you'll realize they were the big things.

512
Hailea Shallock

Sometimes I think about what it would be like if you hadn't made the selfless decision you did. Sometimes I think about what it would be like if you hadn't introduced yourself to us last fall. Sometimes I wonder if our family would be the same without you, but I am really not sure we'd be okay if it weren't for you. We are forever grateful and no words will ever be able to explain that.

I remember getting the first call, there was a heart. I was in Connecticut for an Irish-dance competition with friends, it was January. It was absolutely freezing and all I remember was wanting to run all the way back to Pennsylvania, in my wig and poodle socks. The entire ride home was beyond surreal, I wasn't sure whether to cry, just sit there in silence, or act like it was just a normal day. By the time I had gotten to the hospital the doctors were already getting Jillian ready for her surgery. Within the hour, they changed their minds, the heart wasn't a match. My family was devastated, but I remember my mom telling my sisters and I, "It's good they changed their minds, we need a heart that is going to keep Jilli healthy for a very long time." Within the week we had gotten another offer and that's when our life changed. January 25th, 2011, the day that changed not only my life but my entire family's as well. The day we became ever so thankful for an angel.

The entire week after the transplant was honestly the biggest blur to me. I remember seeing Jillian afterward, she seemed like she was never in pain, she always had a contagious smile, but this was different and everyone could see the difference in her. It was like there was this entire new side to her that was visibly different, she was finally out of pain. Although it's tough to see someone so little with so many tubes and drains, I knew because of you, she'd be okay. Exactly two weeks later, Jillian got to come home to us. Her recovery went well and on February 8th, 2011, Jillian was discharged from the hospital.

The next few years, everything we did for Jillian we did with thoughts of our Angel Baby. Every milestone Jillian completed, she completed with a huge piece of your daughter right by her side. I believe that through our Angel Baby Jillian's will for life became even stronger.

I'll always remember my family's first time going to the Organ Donor Dash. It was also really cold this day too, but I was never more ready to run a 5k, let alone my first one. I remember struggling through that thing like there was no tomorrow, but when I crossed that finish line a wave of emotion came over me. I did that for you, for our Angel Baby, for every single moment I spent wondering who you were.

The details of every event for the next four years are hard to remember but there is one specific thing I want to tell you…we never once forgot how thankful we were to have you. Every year on January 25th, no matter what day of the week it was, Jillian got a cake to celebrate her “Heart Day.” This celebrated the day your selfless decision gave her new life. On the cake, there were two candles, always. One for Jillian, and one for our Angel Baby. There was never a time in any of our days that we didn’t think about you at least once.

November 13th, 2015 my dad got a message from you on Facebook. It was a simple message along the lines of, “I hope you and Shannon don’t mind me reaching out to you. Can you guess who I might be?” and knowing my dad, his guesses aren’t always on par. Within the next couple of minutes, you had gotten right to the point and told my dad something we had all been waiting to hear, “Your daughter was given my daughter’s heart. My daughter has been gone almost five years now and I’ve wanted to reach out to you guys.” This is the day you changed our lives forever. My family had finally gotten to put a face and a name to the beautiful Angel Baby we had been praying to for all these years and it was the absolute best feeling in the entire world and most precious face. I remember my parents sitting me down almost a year ago and letting me read the messages between the three of you and believe me when I say I absolutely lost it.

Over the past (almost) year, you have become a huge part of our family and we have never been more thankful to have another member. Jillian has grown into a strong, very sassy, outgoing, charming, beautiful little princess and like my dad said to you, "it’s all because of you.” Words cannot describe the amount of love I have for you, and no actions will ever amount to what I would love to give back to you after what you have done for our family. Through your selfless decision, you gave my sister life and my family hope. I will never be more thankful for another human being than I am for you in my entire life. I know your Angel is not only watching over Jillian but you as well. We love you more than you know, thank you so much for the opportunity you have given our family. Forever and a day.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

This Survey Shows How Quarantine And Drinking Relate, And I Can't Say I'm Surprised

"5 o'clock somewhere" is more of a guideline now than ever.

As it stands, and my friends and I are finally 21. We're extremely excited to be able to go out to bars and "get lit" as the kids say, but due to the pandemic, all of our plans have been put on hold. We'd rather wait and go when it's safe than risk spreading the infection and hurting our loved ones. So, we've all been quarantining apart, getting on the occasional wine zoom call. This made me wonder if anyone else our age were doing the same thing.

Then, I discovered this survey: We Surveyed Millennials And Gen Z About Their Quarantine Drinking Habits — Cheers. Here are 3 things that I discovered through the survey results.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

5 Easy Summer Mocktail Recipes You Can Make With Items You Probably Already Have On-Hand

Keep these drinks in mind next time you're visiting your local farmer's market — you might want to grab some extra mint and limes.

With Summer 2020 in full swing comes the addition of many fresh fruits and vegetables to brighten up your dinner plate, but also your glass! Farmers markets are my personal favorite place to look for produce that is in season to make fun mocktails with.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

5 Ways To Celebrate The 4th of July — Without Fireworks Or Social Gatherings

We created a list of things to do since social distancing may create a dent in our typical, planned traditions.

With the Fourth of July on Saturday, the usual tradition of popping fireworks, grilling out, and being surrounded by family has been modified due to the pandemic. Whether you're a loner or surrounded by family, there will most likely be some changes to your celebrations.

For weeks on social media, people across the country have been complaining that they have been subjected to fireworks going off at all times of the night into the early morning. This has sparked concern and questions about why this is happening and how are people even obtaining the fireworks.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Carb And Cheese Lovers, Unite — These Are The Best Mac And Cheese Recipes On The Internet

Whether you need to get through the current pandemic or want to spice up your Fourth of July celebrations, these mac and cheese recipes will do just that.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BxIKdnMHcGr/

My favorite food is mac and cheese, and it always has been. All it requires is noodles and cheese — it's so simple to make. Although it's my favorite, it can also get kind of mundane because it's such a simple recipe. This, of course, has led to many people all over the world experimenting with the American staple.

With our lives currently being turned upside down due to the pandemic, a lot of people are seeking comfort. These are scary times, and in order to make it day-to-day, we need to have our favorite foods as a standby. These recipes can also be used during your celebration of the Fourth of July.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Odyssey Webinar: Writing Reviews About Your Favorite Products

See you on Wednesday, July 8 at 4:00 p.m. EST.

On July 8, our Lifestyle editor is hosting a video webinar focused on writing reviews about your favorite brands and products –– and you're invited! You must have an Odyssey account to attend.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tips

Odyssey Templates: Review A Product You Love

Rave about that product here as much as you have been to your friends.

There are few things less satisfying than giving someone a product recommendation only to find out they actually took the recommendation and love it just as much as you told them they would. There exists a great sense of gratification in knowing someone valued your opinion enough to go out and make a purchase based on it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

17 Things To Make You Feel GOOD This Week

Because some purchases are just necessary.

Y'all, we're struggling. You don't even have to tell me, I know. What a mess we're all in, right? This year is not going how we planned and the world has turned into one giant struggle bus. I guess you could be super philosophical about everything happening for a reason, but sometimes life is just hard.

There are plenty of ways to bring yourself out of whatever rut you're in. You could go for a run, have a snack, or read a book. Or, if you're really looking for an adrenaline rush, go shopping. This is obviously not going to solve the world's problems with one swift click of the "checkout" button, but hey, it may just give you the little boost you need today.

Keep Reading... Show less

- Blissfully unaware that butt-care beyond squats was even something I should be considering in my self-care routine, I tried one of Bawdy Beauty's butt masks for the first time a month ago.

- I've never really given my butt a second though till I took a look at improvements that could be made with the mask — if one of the hydrating, firming, detoxifying, or brightening masks in the kit I received could either smooth out cellulite or tone my skin a bit more, I wasn't going to complain.

- Each Bawdy Beauty sheet mask comes in an individually-packaged sheet, soaked with a serum I massaged into my skin after removing said sheet. The clay butt mask comes in a convenient stick format I simply draw on to my skin and leave to set for about 10 minutes before hopping into the shower.

- I set a goal of committing myself to butt-care every day for one month. Between the regular use of sheet masks, clay masks, and their CBD Butt Balm in between, I didn't have many expectations.

- I thought the whole concept may just be a gimmick, but my butt has never looked so toned in my life, and the cellulite I had is almost completely gone. I wear one every single day when I get the chance.

I'm incredibly skeptical when it comes to marketing ploys and gimmicks in the beauty world. I'll be the first cynic to try out the latest serum on the market every influencer is raving about just to negate every grandiose claim it makes.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments