Essentially Sharon

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A Hope and a Prayer for Christmas

Years ago I met Melissa when we both worked on a small Christian college campus. Over time we attended the same church where I heard her sing with a beautiful voice. I was aware that she went through a liver transplant. In recent years, our paths crossed from time to time when I would call or email orders for printed forms for the medical office where I work. She was usually the person who answered requests and helped make sure our orders were filled. I always knew I was in kind and competent hands.

November came and I saw a post on Facebook about adorable mini long haired dachshund puppies. They would be available in mid-December. We had a dachshund for ten years and loved her personality. I showed the post to my husband, half joking, because I’ve been ready to get a new dog or puppy for awhile. He has taken longer to warm up to the plan. Could this be the right dog?

This time, Tom said, “Go ahead, find out the details.”

The pups belonged to Melissa. We set a time to visit. Melissa and her husband, Doug, introduced me and my mother-in-law to the lovely, silly pups. I chose “Scotty”, the only chocolate colored male of the litter. Soon our quiet mornings will be happily interrupted by a rambunctious pup joining our family in time for Christmas.

I’m not really writing this post to tell you about our new puppy. I’m writing because I want to tell you about Melissa, and her hope, and a prayer for Christmas. You see, I understand what it is to have a tremendous need for physical help. November and December are months every year that I ponder things I went through and hoped for and prayed about ten and twelve years ago. But the cancer journey I went through is very different from Melissa’s very serious need for a living donor. My personal battle did not rely on a gift of an organ. For Melissa, there is no treatment or plan beyond her finding someone willing to go through the process and see if they may be a match. A great hope. A heartfelt prayer.

I was aware Melissa had gone through one liver transplant. She is now in urgent need of a second transplant. Melissa is seeking a living donor; someone willing to go through the screening process, and if approved, to have surgery to donate part of their liver. People who love Melissa have tried to see if they qualify, including her wonderful husband, but they have not been able to find the right match. Yet.

Would you help spread the word for this lady who is a beloved wife, mom, friend, daughter, sister?

Here is what those who are interested may do:

Visit the UPMC Transfer Services Website and complete the screening form. Anyone who fills out the form needs to use Melissa’s first married name, “Melissa L. GRIFFITHS”. Filling this out doesn’t commit the individual to anything. It will just answer some questions and get a person more information, with no strings attached.

I asked Melissa if there were organizations that helped find a match for people in need of a liver transplant.

Her response was, “It’s really up to us to spread the word that I need a donor, and to point anyone interested to the website where they can then get more information about it.”

In between the Facebook messages back and forth about our new puppy, Melissa shared this, and it has stuck with me and my heart:

“I pray for a donor to volunteer and soon. But I worry that might not be God’s plan. I know that I have done nothing to do to deserve that kind of gift, and there is really nothing I can do but sit and wait and trust and hope. I work every day to leave worry at God’s feet and find joy in another day.”

Melissa is pictured here with her husband, Doug

Please help share the word about Melissa’s need, and if you are so inclined, visit the UPMC Transplant website to learn more about this hope and prayer for a living donor.