On June 4, 2008 Princeton Junction resident Mark Meade received the “gift of life”….a new heart from an anonymous donor. At the time of the heart transplant, Mark was in end-stage congestive heart failure and was being kept alive on machines for four months at Hahneman University Hospital in Philadelphia. That amazing day when notified that there was a match after such a long wait was a mix of emotions. At that moment when our family was at our highest, another family was at their lowest. There are few words to say to the donor family…except thank you! We send update letters and cards, however, there has been no communication back from them but we understand how painful this must be. We hope that one day they might be comfortable enough to want to make contact with us….we would welcome it! We honor the donor in everything we do…every day. Donors are our heroes!
Since the transplant we are committed to raising awareness of the critical need for organ and tissue donation and give back for our miracle. We are trained and certified volunteers for NJ Sharing Network, Gift of Life Donor Program, Gift of Life Family House, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, New York Organ Donor Program and sit on many of their Advisory Boards. We speak on behalf of these organizations and give presentations on the transplant process from the perspective of recipient and caregiver.
We will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary in May, 2015 and Mark is alive to see our three grandsons become fine young men and to continue to be a part of their lives. When his beloved NY Giants were in the 2008 Super Bowl (Mark has had season tickets for 49 years) he was desperately ill at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. Now almost six years post-heart transplant we were able to be volunteers for the Super Bowl XLVIII Host Committee and be part of history. We were volunteers at NJ Sharing Network’s Annual 5K Walk & USATF Certified Race last June and will be there again in 2014.
We know how lucky we are to have had this outcome, many others are not as fortunate. Please sign your license to register as an organ and tissue donor and encourage others to do so as well! Without our receiving the ultimate gift none of this would be possible for the Meade family!