374) In Which I Meet a Real Survivor

July 7, 2009

Laredo: I am here in Laredo today to facilitate a Youth Leadership Conference that Mario has organized. I arrive at the facility about 30 minutes early and there is a youth there already... asking if he can help me unload and set up. He carries the heaviest of my supplies up the stairs to the second floor of the building and goes about the process of assisting me in any way he can. He tells me he is a college student at the community college in Laredo, and although he is a little older than the rest of the youth he is anxious to be involved with the group and excited about this day of leadership activities designed to pull the group together and to practice some ways of communicating with their community about substance abuse and how to move in the direction of a drug free community.

As other young people arrive and partake of the generous snacks that Mario and adult staff have provided, this young man, Luis, goes around talking to some of them, ever aware of any other way he can help. After the first round of ice-breaking activities and setting the day's goals for the conference, Luis approaches me and reports that he is so happy to be here and participate in this event because it is still new to him to be up and around and able to do these kinds of things.

He continues that three years ago he had a heart transplant! I exclaim, "Wow! I had a kidney transplant last March!" We share our scars and I hear his story... he was born with only one ventrical and lived the first 15 years or so with very limited activity... bed or wheel chair bound with home schooling, etc. until he got the heart transplant and recovery in San Antonio. I am astounded! Here is this young guy who is enjoying... actually LIVING life to the fullest [he reports now riding horses and roping calves ~ which the doner girl did before passing on] and going to school and working on his dad's ranch, and being fully aware of his new abilities to experience reality from a new stand! It is awe-inspiring and adds some humbleness to my situation. This kid had a HEART TRANSPLANT and has a new life to live!

I am just an old guy with some extended years... but, here we have a person who has a full and long life to live because of our modern technology. Later we compare diet, meds (he takes something like 37 a day... all through the day... AND remembers them faithfully!) to my measly eleven every 12 hours; morning and night.

This trip to Laredo, and meeting my young friend, Luis and his peers becomes another of those meaningful experiences that we find in living that help us to remember "all the blessings already are". Thanks to all the youth leaders that were present that day; and especially to Luis. And thanks to Mario and SCAN for again inviting me down to work with them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

...just an old guy with some extended years who continues to bring joy and enrich the lives of his family, his friends, and his community. Love you. Gracie