Almost 15 years ago. our family lost one of the best guys that I knew in the world, my father in law.

At the time we were still recovering from a couple of other losses in the same branch of the family tree.

We had a discussion that we hadn't had before, or if we did it was quickly shut down. 

It was the same discussion we'd had when an aunt on my side had passed away about 20 years earlier.

Organ donation.

The knee jerk reaction (no pun intended) at the time of her passing, unfortunately, was a quick, "NO!"

She had passed away from a brain tumor and was it pretty good health other than that, but the family would not even entertain the idea that maybe it would good to let her help someone else.

On the other hand, it was the first time that I think any of us had ever considered that option.

Fast forward to 30 years later and one of her sisters needs a donor, and now I think the family's perspective may have changed a bit.

But back to 15 years ago when we had a redo and lost my father in law.

Because of that first loss, we had talked about organ donation and how it seemed such a waste to simply bury him after he had given a large part of his life to helping anyone that needed, (again, no pun intended) a hand.

They were able to use his corneas for transplant as well as his forearm bones and I can't remember what else they used, those two I remember. 

Yes, it was a bit weird to have a donation plaque at the memorial, but it also made us feel a bit proud that he was able to help someone else see.

It was odd to need to find a bulky long sleeved sweater to cover his arms to hide the fact that there were no bones there, but I also wondered who used them and how they were, and also glad that someone else was getting the chance to hug, maybe one of their own grandbabies with those arms.

The Iowa Donor Network is celebrating its 25th year.

In that amount of time, they have had 1,378 organ donors.  Those donors gave 4,630 organs to others still living,

In 2000, they became the state's only tissue recovery agency. Since they began this area of donation, 10,551 donors helped to heal more than one million people around the world.

In January of this year, they began serving as the communication center for the Iowa Lion's Eye Bank, and also provides assistance to families of cornea donors at the time of donation.

"IDN is serving more donors and more donor families than ever before," says Suzanne Conrad, IDN CEO. "I am most proud of all of the lives we have saved and enhanced through organ and tissue donation. There's no doubt in my mind that we could not do what we do without the talented, dedicated, mission driven people who work here."

They have helped a lot of people because of the unique service that they provide. 

Right now there are more than 600 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant.  All Iowans can help IDN reduce the waiting list by registering as an organ, eye, & tissue donor. Anyone of any age can be a donor. To register today or to learn more about organ & tissue donation in Iowa please visit

They say you can't take it with you, and that's true with your body. I've always said that if I have anything that anyone can use, they can have it when I'm done using it. At the same time, if my family has a problem with that, I understand and won't force them to make that decision. 

But consider it in your family. Talk about it. Get used to the idea before you make the same decisions we did because we simply hadn't considered the option before.

It's one of those discussions I'll be having with the kids, just to make sure that they understand that I'm okay with the idea if they are.


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