These days, Andrew Erickson has a lot to carry. That’s not a metaphor: he has a lot to carry between three year old Harriet and new twins Gus and Louie. As a father, Andrew picks up, holds, helps, comforts, and carries his three kids countless times every day.
Andrew can thank someone else for his steady stance and strong legs to hold up his sweet kids. He received the gift of a ligament from a tissue donor in 2012.
During a broom ball game, just a few years ago, Andrew had a bad swing. His knee went one way, the broom another, and eventually Andrew landed at the hospital. His knee had already been injured in another sporting accident a few years earlier, and this new twist meant he would need to replace his torn ligament.
So, in October of 2012, Andrew received a very special gift from someone he would never meet. That gift, from a compassionate person who chose to be a tissue donor, would return Andrew to walking, working, and being active. After his surgery, taking good care of his new ligament and his healing knee, Andrew decided to thank his donor family in a letter.
Why thank a stranger’s family for this gift given to him? To Andrew, he felt the need to say thank you. To express gratitude at what he felt was a special gift. And to tell them that their loved one’s legacy mattered to him, in particular, and that the gift was important to him and his family.
As an RN in the Neuro-Medical ICU, Andrew cares for many patients. As a father and husband, he cares for his family. As a recipient, he cares for a gift he received from someone he would never meet. Every time he walks down a hall to a patient, or puts a baby in a crib–he can thank his donor. And he does.