December 31, 2006
Though last week the Winter Season may have been hard to visualize, the spirit of the season filled our Village.
Last week you learned about Buffalo’s KISS 98.5 Twelve Days of Christmas contest and how the local Ellicottville Merchants and the Wingate Hotel pitched in to make one very deserving family’s Christmas wishes come true. Thanks go out to all the businesses who donated to this cause: Bruce Candles of Ellicottville, Red Door Ski Shop, Daff, Kazoo II, The Holiday Shoppe, Dina’s, the staff at the Wingate Hotel, Holiday Valley, City Garage and Plant People of WNY.
Throughout the season, we’ve also kept you up to speed with all of the people in our community that have generously given of themselves to charities of the region. In this week’s Villager you can read about the mission of one of our strong charitable organizations, The Rotary (see page 4).
Inside of each of us is a passion and drive. Find the topic that motivates you and make a difference.
One cause that hits very close to home for me is organ donations – and this is because a few months ago, my cousin Paul Cardinale was the first ever NYS resident that was able to receive an organ donation made through the internet. Through the hard work and perseverance of his mom (my Aunt Jeanette), my cousin received a kidney and a new take on life from William Thomas of Alaska at the Buffalo General Hospital.
My aunt’s efforts made a statewide difference. Along with three other women, they have kicked off a website “http://www.wnykidneyconnection.org” www.wnykidneyconnection.org that is a resource for people wanting to donate or are in need of a kidney. Just last week the second transplant through her efforts was made.
Dawn Babbitt of Cattaraugus County has a similar drive to make a difference. Last year her son, Roland, died at 18 years of age.
He was sitting on a car at GCC and unaware of his presence, his friend drove the car, throwing Roland from it and leaving him with fatal head injuries. Roland was in the hospital for nine days before he passed away.
Dawn had been thrown from a car when she was 18; the accident left her unconscious for three days. Unfortunately, Roland wasn’t as lucky.
When Roland turned 16, he got his Driver’s Permit. When he received it, he immediately sat down and signed the back of it, making him a proud organ donor. Roland never got his Driver’s License, and it seems what was most important to him about receiving that Permit was to be able to state that he was a donor. When Roland passed, both his cornea and heart valves were donated to people in need … and that part of Roland lives on.
His mother, like my aunt, has now found a new mission in life. Once she has graduated from college, she is going to start a new campaign called Donor for Life where she will tour school campuses lecturing about the importance of donating and speaking openly to families about their requests. “There are a lot of decisions that parents have to make when they lose a child,” Dawn said, “and this just shouldn’t be one of them.”
We live in a small community where everywhere you look you can find friends helping friends and neighbors reaching out to neighbors. Find something that drives you and become involved – it will make you and those you help have a happier and more fulfilling holiday season!