#13175 Chris Murphy – Reflection
Prior to my summer as an Aide at Dudley, I received some concerning results from my pre-camp bloodwork. I was away from camp for long enough that when I finally arrived at my cabin the campers had gotten used to substitute Aides covering for me while I was gone. In the grand tradition of camp in those days, campers and Leaders in “the know” (including #11762 Rick Edie and #12993 Don Schmidt) played out the joke that I was just another substitute with the second half kids who didn’t know me, for all it was worth. Good times!
The results of my bloodwork and additional tests showed that I had what is now known as Fabry disease, a rare inherited metabolomic disorder that affects the kidneys, heart, and brain. It’s truly a tough and challenging disease that led me on quite a medical journey.
Fast forward to today and I’ve been the recipient of three kidney transplants all from deceased donors, the most recent occurring on September 11th, 2021. It’s very difficult to put into words what it’s like to have the last act of someone (and their family) who went through a terrible tragedy, be to donate their loved one’s organs to others. The courage and love that it takes boggle the mind and I am obviously forever indebted to them for their actions.
Not that the thought hadn’t crossed my mind before during prior transplants, but for some reason this time the parallels of this situation to the lessons I learned at camp came ringing through in incredibly strong fashion, as I sat in the hospital recovering. The selflessness of that family, the pure love of giving to others at such a horrible moment is truly incredible. The strains of “The Other Fellow First” run throughout my experiences. Prior to my transplant, while on kidney dialysis I received notes of encouragement and support and offers of living organ donations from people far and wide. These offers came from all corners of my world, some expected and others totally unexpected and unanticipated. Again, these people who offered to give of themselves left me truly humbled and inspired. They are outstanding examples of the love that is in this world.
During my medical journey, going on 35 years now, I’ve spent a lot of time at doctors’ offices, in hospitals, having blood taken, and getting to know our healthcare system very, very well. I’ve seen and been a part of a lot of tough situations, but I’ve also seen the wonders of doctors, nurses, staff, giving of themselves, caring for others, and truly going above and beyond the call of duty. Yes, it’s their job but it’s so much more than that. I’ve also seen and experienced incredibly touching moments from patients and their families taking care of others who are sick and hurting, despite their own challenging situations.
Suffice it to say that this journey I’ve been on has allowed me to appreciate even more how “The Other Fellow First” plays out in everyday life, and especially at times of crisis and despair.
I decided to pass along my story as one small way to recognize and give back to my donor family, to the many who have given of themselves to me over the years, and to recognize and highlight the most precious and important lesson of my time at camp. The living embodiment of Dudley’s mantra is alive in well in me and in my world as it hopefully in all of yours.
My best to all of you far and wide.