When you're a life-long hospital patient like Tricia, especially with a disease like CF and facing things like double lung transplants, you get a lot of requests for "studies" and "trials". Everybody wants to use you for some kind of research related to CF, high-risk pregnancy, premature birth, pulmonary diseases, etc. Some of these studies/trials are very simple and don't involve anything more than signing a few pieces of paper, but most of these studies involve being poked and prodded, trying experimental drugs and treatments, and asked lots of personal questions, etc.
Since being placed on the list last Friday, Tricia has been asked to participate in 4 different studies. One of these studies involves examining her old lungs after they've been removed from her body via the transplant surgery.
Over the years, Tricia has been asked to sign the legal papers for hundreds of these studies/trials.
She has never said "no".
Tricia believes that her purpose in life is to give God glory by allowing Him to use her CF to be a blessing to others. She has participated in numerous studies that have been used to discover new techniques, meds, treatments, etc. for CF and other diseases.
And, Tricia is not alone. It is because of the willingness of others who have gone before her to participate in similar studies that Tricia is alive today. Even baby Gwyneth has already been signed up by her father for a few studies of her own.
Tricia also desires that her body be donated to science and research upon her death. Because of her disease (and other circumstances), Tricia's body won't be much good for organ donation...but, she can still make a difference by allowing researches to learn more about CF and other medical issues. She told me about this desire of hers a long time ago, and although it's not exactly what I think I would have decided for her, I have promised her that I will be sure that it happens.
I tell you this for two reasons:
1) If you are ever asked to participate in a medical study or clinical trial, I hope that you will at least consider the lasting effect that it could have on millions of other people in our world. These studies are not for everyone, but they do help everyone.
2) If I haven't yet convinced you, yet, to become an organ donor, I hope that this post will possibly help move you a little closer. Organ donation isn't for everyone, but it can help everyone.
I continue to be amazed at my wife and her willingness to help others, even as she is in the middle of an extremely difficult situation. Just today, she reminded me of her wishes. Every time she is asked to do a study or trial, she barely even gives the person time to explain what it is all about before she says, with a smile on her face, "Yes, I want to help other people."