DEAR ABBY: I work in a hospital emergency room. The other day a patient arrived who had been in a motorcycle crash. He was not wearing a helmet. He had a 4-inch hole in his skull. He left behind a wife and small children.
Abby, I beg you to urge your readers who are motorcycle riders to please wear a helmet. If they won't do it for their own safety, they should do it for the people they love. The loss of this young man's life was a tragic waste. Thank you for spreading the message. -- HEALTH-CARE WORKER, EVERYCITY, U.S.A.
DEAR E.R. WORKER: I am pleased to pass along your message. Your letter triggered the memory of a conversation I had years ago with the late Bruce Conway, a former director of The Living Bank in Houston. We were chatting on the phone one day and the subject of the ideal candidate to be an organ donor came up. In his warm Texas drawl, he defined it short and sweet: "A 19-year-old male, riding a motorcycle and not wearing a helmet." I told him he sounded like a cross between Lyndon Johnson and Dracula.
Since we're on the subject of organ donations, read on:
DEAR ABBY: My father passed away two months ago. He was only 45. Mom and Dad were married for 25 years and had eight children.
Dad was diagnosed with hepatitis C about a year ago. After a year in and out of hospitals and being bedridden, he slipped into a coma, and we had to call an ambulance.
He went into cardiac arrest and was sent to ICU. The doctors told us there was nothing they could do, and they took him off life support.
My father didn't want to die. He didn't deserve to die. We had to wait for him to finally give up. It was horrible.
My father would have lived if he'd had a liver transplant. Abby, please ask your readers to donate their organs. It makes a huge difference in saving lives. My 3-year-old sister keeps asking when Daddy is coming home. She is too young to understand he never will. I don't think she'll even remember him.
My father's death has made me realize that when it is my time to go, any organ I can donate, I will. People should tell family members that they want to be an organ donor. -- DADDY'S GIRL IN WILLIS, TEXAS
DEAR DADDY'S GIRL: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your father. Organ donation is the ultimate gift of life one can give to another. However, it cannot be done without permission from the survivors, so it's vital that they be told in advance and that they agree.
Readers: The phone number for The Living Bank is (800) 528-2971. The Web address is www.livingbank.org.