I have had this little camera tucked away in the corner of my room, collecting dust. It would haunt me every time my eyes roamed the room and spotted it. How could such a little device make such an impact on me? Well, this device is full of deep, and uncharted territory. This was the camera my older sister, Ashley, used to document her journey while waiting to receive her second life saving double lung transplant. It documented all of her experiences, her struggles, sadness, and unfortunately, the end of her beautiful life. She documented each moment... the worst, the sad, and the horrifying. She so desperately wanted to share all of these photos with all who followed her journey, and was prepared to do so once she received her new lungs. The only problem, she never got those lungs. I finally opened up that little camera after I could feel it daunting me every time I entered my bedroom... and here I am, doing what she wanted all along, sharing it with the world. This is easily the most emotional post I have ever made, but I think its important to show you, not only because it is what she wanted... not only because it will express how brave she was, or how hard she fought, but also express the true importance of life- and how no one should ever take, even a breath, for granted. We start at her evaluation at Cleveland Clinic, before she was even accepted as a transplant patient:
(Still had that HUGE appetite)
Back home after the EVAL...needed dental clearance before being accepted into Cleveland (make sure no infections) My moms friend Art is a dentist and was willing to do a full days worth of tests to get it sent in right away!
The BIG BENEFIT put on to raise money for this entire journey.
The family having a good-bye party when she was accepted as a patient at the Cleveland Clinic
The family sending her off on her ANGEL AIR flight to Cleveland
Her first crash in Cleveland, causing her to be on a ventilator since the oxygen machine was no longer doing the job
The aunts first visit after her crash
She was still sedated and put on a paralytic (basically in an induced coma)
She finally was woken up to find out she was now on a ventilator... but that didn't stop her from taking funny pictures of my auntie Debbie sleeping
Skyping me on her vent (I was at school in Auburn)
Still wanted to rock these wonderful heels
She began swelling
Decked her room out in Boston pride
On a new device
A video clip of her on the device
First patient to ever walk on a ventilator
The sign she wrote for her NPR interview, right before she crashed again
When the family was told to come to Cleveland immediately as she had crashed, and was in an induced coma, and on a paralytic
And then some amazing people came to spend time with me in Cleveland during this difficult period
The nurses grouped together and bought Ashley this for after she got her lung transplant (we still had some hope)
More family visiting, still hadn't come out of this crash... we started realizing this was the end
Unfortunately this was the end of Ashley's journey... my older sister passed away on June 14th 2012... those lungs she fought so hard for, never came.