A Letter To My Dad's Organ Donor

A Letter To My Dad's Organ Donor

Thank you for teaching me more about life than I'll ever know.

To my dad's donor, Justin,

Some parts I remember more vividly than others, but I could quite possibly reenact the scenario of my mother and I in a hospital waiting room nine years ago. It was an early, harsh January morning, and we were starving. We scavenged for local pizza places and other cheap and convenient eateries open at such an early hour, but only found success with a little local pizza shop. Don't ask me how I remember, but I do. At the time, that was my main concern. I was far too young to fully comprehend the situation at hand. I was thinking, "Why on earth are we here? And why does my dad need surgery? Will he die? What will happen to mom and me if this doesn't go OK? Where do we even get a new liver?"

Things went more than OK. My father recovered extremely quickly and was back to work faster than you could even ask how the operation went.

As I have grown older and (slightly) wiser, the significance of my father's transplant bears a much heavier impact on me than it did when I was 10 years old.

But what strikes my tender heart is this: I am 19 years old, and when you died, you were also 19.

You made a courageous and selfless individual decision early on when you registered to be an organ donor.

On a bitter January night in 2007, you passed in a car crash.

I just wonder. I wonder about a lot of things. I wonder where you were headed. I'm sure you were destined for greatness, at least I like to believe so. You were just so young. You will never stand at the end of an aisle waiting to receive a beautiful bride. You will never have children nor watch them graduate, and I'm so sorry.

I'm so sorry that you passed at the beginning of what was supposed to be the rest of your life. I'm sorry you didn't get the chance to finish college and work your way up in the real world. I'm sorry that you never got the chance to go to the casino with your friends and family on your 21st birthday. It hurts my heart to think that you never had the opportunity to meet and propose to the love of your life.

However, despite all of these heart-wrenching tragedies, you will forever be considered a member of our family. You matter a lot more than people think. It isn't something most people think about every day. But the older and older I get, the more I find myself thinking about you.

Justin, you illuminated our family in a time of medical distress and we will never be able to repay you and your family for their beautiful blessing amidst such a tragic crisis for your family. People like you are what give me faith in our increasingly cruel humanity.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to have my dad send me off to my school dances, proms, banquets, graduations and hopefully my wedding one day. I promise I'm living college up for you just like I know you'd want, because well, my dad is a little old for such tomfoolery even if he doesn't act like it sometimes.

There's just so much ambiguity about the whole thing. It's a huge grey area. I see you in the people who walk down the street. I see you with my friends at school, and my fellow employees at work. You just seem to have this presence about you that makes me feel like we've known each other for our whole lives, yet we've never even met, and you don't even know who I am.

I am the daughter of the man who received your liver, and I want to say thank you. Thank you for being selfless, caring and brave. Thank you for giving the most precious gift of life. You gave more than organs. You gave second chances, new outlooks on life and lifelong memories with my family. Thank you for teaching me more about life than I'll ever learn in a philosophy class.

But most of all, thank you for letting me keep my father.

I'll see you in heaven someday, you kindhearted soul.


The daughter of a liver recipient

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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The Football World Loses One Of Its Finest Players

Bart Starr passed away and NFL players, coaches, and fans all mourn the loss of the Packer legend, but his life and career will live on in hearts of Packer nation forever.


Bart Starr passed away at the age of 85 in Birmingham, Alabama. The NFL lost a great player. The Green Bay Packers lost a hero. And, the world lost a true gentleman. Starr's legacy has surpassed his accomplishments on the gridiron. He inspired not only his peers but the generations that have come after him. He is — and always — will be remembered as a Hall of Famer, a champion, and a Packer.

Bart Starr was a Packers legend. Starr led Green Bay to six division titles and five world championships. As the quarterback of Vince Lombardi's offense, he kept the machine going and executed the plays like no other. His mastery of the position was a large part of the Packers success in the 1960s. Starr was also the perfect teammate for the perfect team. His leadership put him in command of the Packers. Starr's time in Green Bay will not be forgotten by former players, coaches, and the fans.

Bart Starr's resume is rivaled by few in NFL history. He played in 10 postseason games and won 9 of them. He led the Packers to victory in Super Bowls I and II and won the MVP award in both games. He was the MVP of the league in 1966 and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960s. The Packers retired his number 15 and Starr has been inducted into the Packers and Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After his playing days, Starr would become the head coach of the Packers. He could not repeat the success he had on the field from the 1960s teams. His coaching years do not take away from his legacy as one of the all-time great Packers. Starr was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

One of Starr's last visits to Lambeau field was on a cold November night in 2015. Starr and his wife attended a ceremony in which the Packers retired Brett Favre's jersey number. Starr was the perfect personification of what it meant to be a Packer. His most heroic moment came in the 1967 NFL Championship Game. The Ice Bowl came down to a third and goal in Lambeau Field's south endzone against the Dallas Cowboys. Starr came to the sidelines and bravely told Vince Lombardi that he can sneak it in for a game-winning touchdown. Lombardi then replied, "Run it, and let's get the hell out of here." Starr ran a quarterback sneak for the game-winner and the Packers were off to Super Bowl II. Without Starr, Green Bay would not have won a second straight Super Bowl. His leadership in big game moments will live with Packers fans for a lifetime.

Vince Lombardi: A Football Life - The Ice Bowl

Starr leaves behind his wife Cherry, his son, and three granddaughters. Packers fans will have a tight grip on the memories Bart Starr and the 60s teams created. Starr left behind a template for being a Green Bay Packer. He also left a template for being a good man and a gentleman of the game of football. He was a competitor and a leader. Packer nation mourns for the loss of one of the finest human beings the game has seen.

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