Ben Van Handel's Journal
Written May 14, 2011 8:34pm
We have been checking the mail every day waiting to hear who received Ben's major organs and we finally received the notification today! Here is what we received:
A 52 year old man from Minnesota received the double gift of one of Ben's kidneys and his pancreas. This recipient is single. He suffered from Diabetes Type 1 and had been on the transplant waiting list since 2009. His doctors report that the surgery went well and that their patient is very grateful for the gift he was given.
A 39 year old Minnesota man received the gift of Ben's other kidney. This recipient is married and has 4 children. He is employed as a machinist and enjoys spending time with his family when he is not working. This gentleman suffered from end stage renal disease due to a malignancy in his kidney. He had been on the transplant waiting list for over 6 years. According to his physicians, his surgery went well and he has been discharged and is continuing his recovery at home. He and his family expressed their thanks for this life-saving gift.
A 65 year old woman from Minnesota received the gift of Ben's liver. This recipient is married and has 2 children. She was diagnosed with liver cancer and had been waiting for a transplant for over 2 years. Her surgeons report that her "prognosis is looking good and she will be fine". She is very appreciative for this second chance at a healthy life and sends her thanks.
Additionally, his heart valves may be used for patients who suffer from congenital heart defects. His connective tissue may be used to repair ligaments or facial deformities. His bone will be used to relieve pain and restore mobility. Saphenous veins and femoral vessels, found in the legs, may be used to replace damaged veins and vessels in dialysis patients. Fascia, the membrane surrounding the thigh muscle, may be used for uterine or bladder reconstruction. Ben also donated his eyes but we have not heard yet if they have been able to use them.
The people who have received Ben's kidneys are especially near and dear to out heartd as Ann's mother was a dialysis patient for over 10 years. We know the rigors of being a dialysis patient and are so happy for those who received Ben's kidneys and can possibly now be free of dialysis. It is up to the recipients as to whether they want to contact us first through letters and then maybe to meet in person.
Tomorrow (Sunday, May 15th) will be Ben's graduation day. I believe they will read his name at graduation and we will receive his diploma in the mail. We have decided that attending would be much too difficult but we are extremely proud of Ben for this accomplishment and even more proud of the new lives he has given these organ recipients.
Once again, we thank everyone for all the concern, support, kindness and love they have shown us over the past month. While we miss Ben tremendously we are grateful to have all of you in our lives whether you are family, friends or people we have never met. You are all wonderful!!
Hug your kids, parents, spouses, friends!
Steve, Ann and Rachel
Written Apr 27, 2011 6:31pm
Steve, Rachel and I have been overwhelmed with the kind words, love and generosity shown to us during this difficult time. Last night at Ben's memorial service we could feel the love of everyone whose lives he touched coursing through the church. We are so lucky not only to have had Ben in our lives but also to have met so many wonderful people in person and through this website because they loved him.
We will miss our charming, kind, loving son/brother very much and there will definitely be a huge hole in our family. Thank you to everyone from the first responders, HCMC doctors and staff, our families and friends and Ben's friends who we now consider our "kids". We are greatly touched by all of you.
Written Apr 22, 2011 12:40am
It is with deep sadness that I need to tell you that Ben took his last breath and went to the Lord on Thursday, April 21st at 3:37 PM.
In accordance with Ben's wishes, he donated his pancreas and one kidney to someone in need, he donated his other kidney to someone and he donated his liver to someone. We took solace all day in knowing that our loving and giving son/brother/friend would still be giving in his death to help others. Three families got very happy phone calls today to let them know a transplant would happen to today because of Ben.
We love him deeply, we miss him deeply.
Ann, Steve and Rachel