As we get ready to turn the page on our calendars from April to May, I want to take a moment and reflect on some awesome things that happened during April and discuss why April is special to me.

As some of you know, April is Donate Life Awareness Month. Before Amalya Nathaniel, I had no clue this month even existed, and now it is something I celebrate and look forward to each year. For me, it is another opportunity to remember my little man, promote donation, and help other families. This year for Donate Life Awareness Month, I chose to honor our little guy’s memory by creating a special cover photo for my Facebook page. I’m really happy with how it turned out! I actually think it would make a great bumper sticker, too. DonateLife_optI was also able to change the name on the photo and make a few for some of my donor-momma friends. This was extra special for me, because I do not always get the chance to do something special for other infant-loss moms. I loved having the chance to honor their babies and help keep their little ones’ legacies alive. I have been so blessed by the number of friends that I have made because of Amalya Nathaniel.

This past month I was also very excited to have three different families share their story of neonatal organ/tissue donation (Stella’s Story, Denali’s Story, Kipton’s Story). What a perfect month for these families to share about the special gifts their babies were able to give. If you have not had the opportunity to read these stories, I would encourage you to do so! Each is an amazing story of love, loss, donation, and healing. I am so grateful for all the families who have been willing to share their stories with others!!! These stories are so very powerful, and I know each story is having a huge impact on others.

Eric and I were also blessed with two speaking engagements this past month. The first was for a group of graduate students at the University of Dayton, which is the school Eric is currently attending for grad school. The second time was a webinar organized by ISOP (International Society for Organ Preservation). This was our first webinar and, despite being nervous, I think it went over well. It was awesome being able to present to people all over the US without traveling. Although the audiences were very different, it was such an honor to share our story for both of these groups. We love talking about our son, but more than that, we LOVE helping others learn more about the opportunities surrounding neonatal organ donation and how important it is to work with neonate families.
April is also special for us because last April was the first time we were asked to publically share our story and discuss neonatal organ donation. Since last April, we have been able to speak eight different times. We also have two more speaking engagements lined up for the summer and fall. We feel so blessed.

This past year we have also seen MANY, MANY changes occur in the organ donation world, making neonatal donation (especially donation for research) more possible for families who are wanting to do so. We hope to see changes continue to occur in the years to come.

Although April is over, and May will bring a new awareness month, promoting donation does not end for me. I am so blessed that I get to serve the neonate community year round and help families create lasting legacies for their little ones.

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