Among my many wonderful memories is this moment back in 1998 when a young mother asked fellow heart/lung transplant recipient, Sara,
if she could leave her son, Kendel, to march in with Team Philadelphia in the opening ceremonies of the 1998 US Transplant Games.
Sara introduced him to me, explaining that at the young age of 5, Kendel, himself a heart recipient had been writing letters of encouragement
to her while she awaited her transplant there at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia just a year ago.

Over the years of bi-annual Transplant Games I lost track of this growing young boy and this year, attending the 2010 US Transplant Games in
Madison, WI, thought to ask Sara what ever happened to her little friend, Kendel.  Sarah quickly replied that he was here at the Games!
I went off in search of him and was in awe to find this now 18 year old young man nearby, now known by his preferred name of “John.”

Yes, transplantation really does work as illustrated by the almost 50 years
of life extension represented in this picture!

Memory Bank

A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed
each morning by eight o’clock, with his hair fashionably combed and
shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing
home today.

His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home,
he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.

As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual
description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been
hung on his window.
I love it,’ he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having
just been presented with a new puppy.

Mr. Jones, you haven’t seen the room; just wait.’

‘That doesn’t have anything to do with it,’ he replied. Happiness is
something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not
doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged … it’s how I arrange
my mind. I already decided to love it. ‘It’s a decision I make every
morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed
recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no
longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.
Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I’ll focus on the new
day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away.. Just for this time in
my life. Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you’ve
put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in
the bank account of memories! Thank you for your part in filling my
Memory Bank. I am still depositing.

‘Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.

So what’s in your life’s memory bank to be celebrated this wonderful day?

the "smile of God"

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