Tuesday, June 9, 2015

RIP Jenna

This is not an easy post to write, because I didn't know Jenna well. I became aware of her trust and campaign in Oct last year (and blogged about it). I thought it was a great way to raise awareness and very clever. In November the Organ Donor Foundation asked me talk at the launch of SPUR's #save7 campaign that was started as a result of her plea for people to become donors (read about the event here). Jenna also spoke via a recording done, and I could see that this was a very sweet and determined girl. I really hoped for the best but in the last 7 and a half years I've seen quite a few people who didn't get their lungs in time so I knew it was a very real possibility. She had also won a LeadSA award for getting for getting so many people to sign up as organ donors, and many people on the waiting list for organs were touched by her efforts.


Last year on the 10th of December I heard that Jenna was getting lungs... I was on my way to Cape Town for a long weekend with friends, and we were all ecstatic for this young girl. Coincidentally this article was in the Marie Claire magazine at the same time, and I immediately bought it! I was soooo excited for the possibilities that lay ahead for her and was sure she would get through the transplant with flying colours with all that inner strength and determination.


Another article...


Some YouTube video's...

On a breakfast show called Expresso...


#Getmeto21 case study....


These are just a few of the MANY MANY video's on YouTube.

I met her 3 times after her transplant in hospital. I immediately loved her mom as well, and it was striking how close they were as a family. Her room was filled with pictures of them and well-wishes from friends and family. She was an amazing girl, and was so patient and brave, I would never have survived 6 months in hospital. Six months of being uncomfortable, in pain, immobile a lot of the time, frustrated, being poked and prodded... I would NOT HAVE COPED. Yet she fought, and her family fought with her. In those 6 months they had so much hope, turmoil, excitement, fear.... to name just a few of the emotions I can imagine. Yesterday however all the severe complications that she had been facing became too much and she lost her battle.

I cannot even begin to describe how sad I am for her family, and how cruel and tragic this is. It is so utterly unfair. Often people don't survive transplant, but to fight THIS hard and then have all that taken away????? I don't know how parents  or a sibling recover from that. My guess would be that you never truly do.

People also often forget the medical staff involved.... Jenna's home nurse, whom I also met once and who was amazing, the ICU staff, the surgeons, our amazing transplant physician, the Section 7 staff, the physio, and entire transplant team who work so hard and invest to much into each transplant.... They also get attached to patients like these and are expected to carry on their duties as before when something like this happens. They also need to remain positive for the sake of the next patient even though they are hurting inside. Some of the toughest jobs in the world.....

There is also her boyfriend, many friends, other transplant patients and especially patients on the waiting list who followed her story with hope.... everyone is bitterly sad and feel such heartbreak for her family.

#RIPJennaLowe trended on Twitter today, and facebook is FILLED with condolences from hundreds, if not thousands of people. MANY who said she inspired them to become organ donors. Just watch the video below for a small idea of the scale of sadness that has been present today on social media.


I really hope that her legacy continues, and that her family somehow find peace someday. Maybe one day we will understand why these things happen.

Also listen to this very heart wrenching interview with Jenna's non yesterday on Cape Talk. Extremely touching and honest.

2 comments:

Reve said...

My hart is so seer vir hulle.

Sherry Boyle said...

Alice, thank you for sharing Jenna's story. What an extraordinary young woman! May her legacy live on that many lives may be saved through organ transplants. She truly has made a difference and I'm sure will continue to do so through her efforts, and now her family's efforts, to raise awareness of the need for donors.