But now, almost 3 months later, I find myself at a loss. This will be the last birthday letter BUT it will not be the last time you will hear from me. I’m different, we are all different, and our “call to action” has shifted.
The next time you receive a letter from me, we will be honoring Andrea in a way that will be thought out, appropriate and meaningful for our NEW mission in celebration of one of the most influential people in my life and many of yours as well!
ANDREA DID NOT LOSE HER BATTLE TO CYSTIC FIBROSIS; IN FACT, SHE KICKED ITS ASS!!!
When she was diagnosed at the age of 6, Jo Ann and Mark were told that their daughter would not live past her teens. Not only did she live an incredible 37+ years, she kept beating the odds every single step of the way!
Andrea’s last success was her double lung re-transplant which was a true miracle. The surgery was flawless. Andrea won! But, we lost. We lost our superhuman as a result of postoperative complications. Andrea was the light that touched so many all over the world with her strength, courage, words of wisdom, and fight to live a full and beautiful life. She had 7+ years after her first double lung transplant to nurture Bryce and give him a solid foundation that will carry him into adulthood. Bryce is wise beyond his years and he will be raised by his daddy, Adam, a superhuman in his own right!
And now, we are left with our job to keep Andrea alive as we build a legacy to honor her – she will not be forgotten!
We will start by continuing to donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation until they ultimately find a cure. That was our goal when Andrea was 6 and we won’t stop until cystic fibrosis is no longer a life -threatening disease.
This year, we are also asking you to join us as we advocate for organ donation awareness which was also Andrea’s passion. If you are not an organ donor, I ask you, for Andrea, to take some time to learn more. This can include seeking guidance from your spiritual leaders and organizations such as Donate Life America. We are simply asking everyone to do their own research so that families can come to a decision that feels right. These can be uncomfortable but extremely important conversations.
National Organ Donation Awareness month begins April 1, 2023, 5 days after Andrea’s 38th birthday. Two families made the most difficult decision of their lives, to donate lungs to Andrea, and we must honor the strength and courage of each and every donor and their loved ones.
If you have already donated to cystic fibrosis in memory of Andrea in the past few months, we thank you for your continued support each year (the link and address provided). This year we added a link for Donate Life America to help you learn more about being an organ donor (you can register on their website even if that information is on your driver’s license). Lastly, share your wishes with your family because they will ultimately have to make that decision.
I never let myself think about the day that Andrea might not be by my side as I wrote this letter. I would call her to ask her about her year and what she wanted me to share. This year, I heard her loud and clear, even though no words were spoken!
I will end my last birthday letter with these two questions for you to ask yourself:
“Would I accept the gift of an organ for myself or a loved one in a time of need?”
“If I am willing to accept the gift of an organ, am I willing to give this gift myself?”
As we celebrate Andrea’s life, we can honor her by living our lives just as she did - with purpose, meaning, and gratitude each and every day and continuing to make a difference in this world for others.
Linda and Robby Levy (as always, G-dparents and proud Aunt and Uncle)
For donations: https://give.cff.org/annualfund/AndreasBirthdayWish
For organ donation awareness: https://www.donatelife.net