A Second Chance at Life

How would you feel if you could give someone hope for a second chance at life?

In October of 1983, Mike Lane and his family learned that they might just need to start searching for that kind of hope. That’s when the six-year-old was first told he had juvenile diabetes. With the diagnosis came life changes that included insulin shots five or six times each day.

Lane, who remembers growing up being ill so much of the time, says it’s not surprising that some of his most vivid memories of his hometown involve time spent at a medical center. At one of them he was befriended by a medic named Kevin and was invited to help in pediatrics, as well as the lab and file room.

“I would get to go on rounds with my doctor which was very interesting. Growing up around those places and experiencing some neat things [are] some of my fondest memories,” Lane said.

Lane’s poor health continued, and in June of 2000 he had a mini-stroke and was told he had end-stage renal disease, which meant his kidneys were failing. In May of 2004, Lane was advised to begin dialysis treatments in order to slow the process. The treatment took place for nine hours each night.

“At the same time I was told about the possibilities of a kidney/pancreas transplant, which was the next option of my life,” Lane said. “On April 25th of 2005, I received the letter stating that I was put on the National Transplant waiting list.”

Lane’s hope for a second chance at life was realized on June 30, 2006 when he received both a kidney and a pancreas through the miraculous gift that is organ donation.

“The donation process made me feel anxious in a way, to where I would be healthy again, or feel somewhat normal for once in my life,” he shared. “But more so I felt that a blessing was going to come my way from a total stranger who would have to suffer a tremendous loss in life for me or for others to have a second chance at life.”

Today, Lane describes organ donation as an opportunity for people to come together as one to help others. He also believes that in some special way the spirit of the donor lives on with the person to whom they have given their last great gift—the gift of a second chance.

In July, Lane and other “transplanted” athletes will head to Pittsburgh to compete in the U.S. Transplant Games, a biannual event promoting the success of organ donation.

According to the National Kidney Foundation’s Web site (http://www.kidney.org), the first U.S. Transplant Games were held in Texas in 1982. Participation dwindled until 1990 when the NKF was asked to rekindle interest in the event. An estimated 7,000 athletes attended the 2004 U.S. Transplant Games, which were held in Minneapolis.

The event lasts four days and is open to anyone whose most recent lifesaving solid organ transplant—heart, liver, kidney, lung, pancreas and/or heterologous bone marrow—has been functioning for at least six months. Participants hope the Transplant Games serve as “a celebration of life among recipients, their families, and friends.”

Lane will be participating in bowling and basketball and is just one of the 25 or 30 Oklahomans expected to participate. He said he is most excited for the opportunity to share his story and to help get the word out about the importance of organ donation.

“I do know that it will be a magnificent time being able to hang out with others who have been given the opportunity to live life again,” Lane said. “This is and will be the first opportunity to help get the word out about organ donation. I have been just leading by example of letting people see for themselves how successful and important organ donation really is.”

Lane is in fundraising mode right now. The trip to Pittsburgh will cost each participant $1,200. To raise money, Team Oklahoma athletes are selling candy and raffle tickets for a Corvette. Tee shirts bearing the slogan, Don’t take your organs to heaven…heaven knows we need them here! are also available. Supporters can visit Lane’s fundraising page at www.firstgiving.com/mikelane.

Lane is grateful for his health and that he no longer has to rely on a machine for strength. He no longer suffers from diabetes, nor does he have to undergo dialysis treatments. The only continuous treatment Lane currently undergoes is to take different types of rejection pills.

“I have more energy, and feel stronger than I did before. It is just amazing how I have felt the last 18 months, as compared to the last 23 years of my life,” Lane said. “When people hear my story they are amazed by my progress, but all I say really is that you should consider being an organ donor.”

For more information, contact Mike Lane at (405) 826-5089.

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