I believe that when most people give a gift, they do so freely and unconditionally. As we grow older, we understand that gifts can take many forms, but usually are given upon reflection of the meaning our gift might have to another. At sixteen years old, Kayla Jo Borgerson made a thoughtful and meaningful decision to let her final gift “in life” actually be a gift “of life” to others by allowing her organs and other tissues to be donated. No one could have envisioned the significance of this decision at that time, and how it would all transpire into reality so quickly.
This is the beginning paragraph of a very moving piece of writing titled Kayla Jo’s Final Gift, attached in it’s entirety. It’s authored by Jackie Nornes, a longtime friend of Kayla’s mom, Sue Borgerson, and tells the story of Kayla’s gifts of life. It’s an incredibly moving tribute to a 17 year-old who has become a hero to so many because of the choices she made during her lifetime and the difference she continues to make after her death.
I was touched by this inspiring perspective about donation and the process of giving the gift of life and asked why Jackie had chosen to write it. She replied:
I was incredibly moved by this experience as a person. I felt “honored” to be a part of an intensely painful and emotional experience for a beautiful and loving family. The love shown among family, friends and the medical team was, to me, one of the highest forms of love and respect for life and others that I’ve been a part of. I was incredibly moved by this spiritual experience. It was definitely a “God” moment and a growing time for me as a person as well.
I love this explanation because it shows that organ and tissue donation doesn’t just affect transplant recipients and the donor’s family. It also profoundly affects friends, extended families and communities. It is a deeply human process that connects us, comforts us, honors us and inspires us. I encourage you to read Kayla Jo’s Final Gift and reflect on the final gift you can give to your family, your friends and your community through donation.