Submitted by: Elvia Valdez, Public Relations and Multi-Cultural Outreach Coordinator
Perhaps one of my biggest motivations is seeing one of our advocates, Florencia Quesnel receive the gift of life last Thursday. Florencia had been waiting for a liver transplant for more than a year. At just 20-years-old she was hands on in educating the world, especially the Hispanic community about the dire need for more donors. She wasn't shy about sharing her story with anyone that would listen, in hopes of changing someone's opinion about donation.
Last year, Mayor Annise Parker chose Florencia as Hispanic Youth Activist of the Year in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month and even proclaimed it "Florencia Quesnel" day in Houston, Texas. I don't think it's a coincidence that Florencia received her transplant this year during the kick-off for Hispanic Heritage Month. It is only fitting for a Hispanic activist, like her.
All while waiting, Florencia juggled a full course load at the University of St. Thomas, media interviews, working part-time and trying to be as normal as possible. I know this was not easy for her. She would often share her scariest thoughts with me, and we both agreed that they were not worth entertaining. She agreed to not allow her illness to define her happiness.
Florencia credits her sister and family for being her biggest inspiration during her journey.
Now that Florencia received her transplant, I know it will be a re-birth of sorts. She has her whole life ahead of her because of this second chance.
From her hospital bed, she sent me a message saying she was ready, ready to get back to work. She is already thinking about sharing her new story with the world, but this time as a recipient.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month and Florencia's story register to become a donor. Ask yourself if you needed help, would you want someone to help you?
Florencia is one name off of the national waiting list, but we know there are thousands more to go. There is no doubt she is here because of someone else's generosity. Her donor family made the best decision in their worst moment based on their values and beliefs and I know she does not take that lightly.
Florencia's story serves as an inspiration to never give up.
LifeGift is proud to have someone as talented and brave to help us on our lifesaving mission!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011