When my husband and I had registered and signed up as organ donors back in November of 1996, little did we know that 20 years later we would be producing that signature again in the most grievous of circumstances: to give our consent to donate the organs of our beautiful 20 year old son Drew.
Allow me to share with you who Drew is apart from him being an organ donor. Andrew, Drew as we affectionately called him, is our son and brother to Bobbie, who left us way too early as a result of a fatal brain aneurism. Drew was a kind, witty, cheeky, intelligent, happy, tall, dark and handsome young man, who together with his sister, grew up in a closely-knit family, surrounded with love and altruism. He loved everyone, especially animals, unconditionally and had a promising future. At 20 he (together with Bobbie) happily joined us on holidays, looked forward to having Sunday lunches with us, and often turned our home into a hangout or dorm whenever the lads got together.
Like many other millennials, Drew grew up in a technologically advanced era that produced gamers, had followers of rock, rap, hip hop and R&B, and generated a culture of Xbox, Netflix, Spotify and Facebook users. Drew also formed part of a generation of DC and Marvel superhero aficionados, as he was first introduced to Batman when he was barely two, to whom he remained faithful throughout his teens and adulthood.
Like so many other self-proclaimed ‘legends’ on social media, Drew and his friends joked about having the qualities of legends, and often pasted the very fashionable status next to their FB pictures. And yet, despite all this, I’m sure Drew never considered himself to really be one in real life, particularly as he was of a rather shy and humble character.
And yet he is, testimony of which are the individuals who received his organs in June of 2016. They now have access to a better quality of life. As for us, we are now experiencing what I call a ‘Life after Drew’. It is a different life. A life that, although having deprived us of a loving son, has given us different family members.
Within seconds after Drew’s passing I knew that the devastation of losing Drew was going to break us all beyond repair. Therefore, together with my husband Kenneth, and sister-in-law, Claire, we teamed up with Transport Support Group Malta (TSG), and started working on a campaign that would honour the memory of our loving son.
Life after Drew is an awareness campaign that focuses on three main aspects:
– to increase registration of organ donations;
– to educate the public on all the aspects of organ donation;
– to offer support to donors, families of deceased donors, as well as recipients.
The campaign was able to channel our sorrow into positive energy, wherein we share the importance of nurturing an altruistic environment that encourages individuals to become organ donors, transforming them into real life legends and heroes.
You too can contribute by signing up to be an organ donor. Simply log on to organdonation.gov.mt if you have an eID; you can also call 2595 3324.
Be a hero; become a Donor.
Life after Drew is a project partly funded by The Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation and supported by MCAST Institute for the Creative Arts.
© 2018 – VIDA Magazine – Sharon Abela