Jorden Edmonds ( Auckland,Great Barrier Island)
At school a couple of years ago I was asked to write about someone very important in my life. Someone who has helped shape the person I am today. For me it could be any one of a hundred (maybe more really) people who have helped get me to this point. This point in my life where I am running around the cross country track, swimming at the wharf with friends and hiking up Mt Hirakimata to visit Biz Bell who works with the endangered Taiko.
This person I chose to write about I had never spoke to, but if I could I would say "thanks". This person is someone I knew nothing about, will never meet, but they are the very reason I am able to do all the things I can or want to do. He or she was my donor.
All the adults in my life know what I have been through and how sick I was. I didn't know much, just that every year we go to a service that makes my mum cry every time, and we get invitations to xmas parties that we can't get to because we have to fly everywhere - one of the few bad things about living on an island. So I started asking her questions about my transplant. My mum says that's the thing about organ donation, you don't know exactly who they are or what they did in life - you just know what they did for YOU. It may just be ONE thing, but it the biggest most super thing they can do for another person. Actually she says it's not just what they gave to ME but to my entire family. I also wonder how many other people my donor saved. I know of one other. The person that received the other portion of their liver. I hope they are living a wonderful happy life too. We have a little catch phrase: Liver Life, Worth Living ... Live a life worth living!
I was almost 3 when I had my transplant. I don't remember much about the time when I was sick. Just the things that my family tell me. I see lots of photos. I see how yellow I was. I'm always in a hospital room or waiting at the doctors. I think of how funny I look because I was always smiling. Sick people shouldn't smile so much?
I do remember the nice nurses and the vampires (the blood ladies with funny accents). I ate a lot of green foods. Peas, broccoli and silverbeet were my faves. I remember the playroom I had spent most of my time in. We used to call 26b our inner city apartment with a view of the sky tower. I remember my "friends" and know that some are now angels watching over us.
We live on Great Barrier Island. My parents are separated and we all live with my mum. I go to Okiwi school where my poppa is the Principal. He has taught here since 1989. We have 3 other teachers, one is my grand-uncle Brian. My mum is here too. She helps out with lots of stuff but mainly P.E & swimming lessons. She is also the coach of our local Soccer team. She is very competitive and loves sports.
I LOVE SPORTS! I didn't always though. Only a couple of years ago I was sent to the naughty mat (by my mum) at swimming sports because I refused to participate. I used to think I couldn't do it. I thought I couldn't run as fast as other kids or swim as far. I thought that I would lose. My brothers and sisters (I have 2 brothers, 3 sisters) are all very sporty. They would always come first in everything. I also thought I was too sick to do anything. I was scared I would get hurt and have to go back to Starship. My mum said "enough is enough, get out there or else, stop moping and start doing, all you have to do is try. Try then try harder". And so I did.
I am now a determined athlete. I play Soccer, Ripper rugby and netball. My mum may be the coach of both grades in Soccer but you have to earn your place in Squad. I made squad. I am also in the swimming Squad which I am very proud to be in. I participate in all our school sports events we do with the other 2 schools on the island. I have even placed first in most of them. Last year I participated in my first Triathlon, I met Jonah Lomu and had a photo with him - he signed my rugby ball. Our local board and airline sponsored travel for me and two of my schoolmates. This year they did it again BUT we were able to take 15 people! I was voted the fittest kid in school this year by my teachers and school friends. I received the "Sportsgirl of the Year" trophy, my older brother received the boy trophy. I also received "The Hillary Award for perseverance" - donated by OPC.
I have set myself a goal: I would like to play netball professionally I think or become an Olympic swimmer. I also want to do physiotherapy but who knows? I could change my mind and try another career as I really enjoy Art and Music.
I still regularly visit a vampire - but she is now a family friend/best-nurse-ever who we pretend we're are on a set of Shortland St. I still go into Starship, but only for routine check-ups and medication. I will take these meds forever but that's okay. I have been taking them for 12 years now so I'm okay with it. I'm okay with everything because now I know what it has taken to get me here.
A maori proverb (whakatauki) my family always recite goes like this ...
He manu e kai ana te miro no na te ngahere
He manu e kai ana te matauranga no na te ao
Translated it means: The bird that eats the miro - the forest is his/hers. The bird that eats knowledge - the world is theirs.
It means we shouldn't limit ourselves to the same one thing but to expand and try anything and everything.
Jorden Edmonds-Griffiths, Liver transplant recipient 2006.