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To all who have been affected in anyway by organ/tissue donation, welcome. Maybe you are like me and have received a liver transplant. Maybe you have received or had a kidney transplant, or a heart, or lungs, or pancreas, or intestines, or corneas, or bone, or heart valves, or…and on it goes. Perhaps you are among the thousands on “the list” waiting, and hoping, for your time of your organ transplant to come. It could be that you have just learned that you are about to enter into this brave (that’s what they say we are, right?) new world and are wondering what to expect. Maybe you are a family member or a friend to someone who is having or has had an organ transplant. And for those of you who have learned the skills and medical technology to transplant another’s organs to save our lives, we invite you to be a part of us, too. Or you even may be that person and people of love, that we all thank for having the real courage and compassion to donate precious organs to us. Maybe you are a loved one who has been asked to consider this gift of like even as you grieve that your special one is dying. To each of you, to all of you, this is for you.
When I learned I was going to need a liver transplant, I had plenty of resources for what I called “techno-knowledge” – I had spent 30 years in health care as a chaplain, and my wife 20 years as an ICU nurse. We knew where to find answers to our medical questions – which were really the easy part. What we had a more difficult time with was learning what this was going to be like – how was life going to be? How were we going to feel? What did we do with those feelings?
This is just the beginning – foundation. As we build this site we want to invite you to help us shape it in a way that is most helpful to you. We envision a place where we can learn from each other, support each other, get worried and frustrated with each other, and laugh and cry together. So call us, e-mail us, make your comments, and let us know what you are thinking. We’ll be doing likewise.
Hi, I’m Dave – the President and Co-Founder of Wellspring Transplant Support Center.
This picture was taken about four months before I received my life giving liver transplant. This was the last “public appearance” I made. I don’t remember much about that event. Many months earlier I was honored to agree to perform the wedding for a hospital staff member. I was insistent that I would honor that commitment. Two days after this picture was taken, I was admitted to Tampa General Hospital. I didn’t know that for about four days. I spent nearly six weeks as a patient, with most of that time in an ICU. I don’t like this picture.
Prior to looking like that, professionally I was a hospital chaplain who ended up with some administrative responsibilities. I spent a lot of time helping people and their families facing death and the decisions that needed to be made. One of those was organ/tissue donation. Since 1989 I have been talking with families, in some of the worst time of their lives, about the very personal decision about that difficult topic. I know very well the difficulty in facing that decision and the courage demanded in consenting to organ/tissue donation. I have had the honor of counseling many who made the decision, in the midst of their own grief, to give life to a stranger.
Then, as the irony of life happens, I was told that my own life would depend on that same compassion. And as I grew to know what it takes to give, I’ve had to learn what it takes to receive. If you would like a list of professional credentials, academic degrees, advanced training, and experiences, call me and I’ll be happy to provide a resume. I’ve got them all. But far more importantly I have imbedded in me, both literally and experientially, the background to reach out to you. The good news for me is that I am now in the best physical health I’ve been in for many, many years. I am very excited and energetic about my future.
Richard Weintraub is Co-Founder and Vice President of the Wellspring Transplant Support Center.
Dave likes this picture. Richard is Dave’s very good friend and partner in this endeavor – in fact, it was his idea. During Dave’s first social evening out after his transplant, the two of them started talking about Dave’s transplant experience. It was mentioned that the internet was more filled with medical information and lacking in real life reflection. Richard, who has had extensive experience is developing and managing companies and their web sites in the health care field, simply asked the question, “Can we build a website that you were looking for, but couldn’t find?” And Wellspring Transplant Support Center was born.
Richard developed three successful internet health related companies that were each the first of their type to offer an internet service which helped patients to learn to care for their medical challenges at home, for less than 75% of the cost of clinical on-site management. The care plan offered on these sits had a success rate of nearly 100%. Richard was also President of Home Products Marketing Corp. for twenty years. His company represented numerous manufactuers and distributors of consumer products. Richard, too, has a professional resume available.
That’s not, however, Richard’s motivation for Wellspring Transplant Support Center. He has very personal history in facing acute illness. He knows what it’s like personally and as a family member facing the uncertain future of a frightening diagnosis. Richard, like Dave, knows life experience is where strength can be found. Anyone can have business success – it takes someone special to take their personal experiences and help others find the joy of living.