Best Christmas letter. Ever.

This arrived in my e-mail last week, from a former colleague, now retired.

It moved me because, among other things, instead of yammering on about what he did, he wrote about what someone else did for him.

He begins by noting that “an anonymous person made a huge investment in our family stock this year. He doesn’t know us and we don’t know him. Personal contact is not allowed for a year, however, we can exchange non-identifiable notes. So in the holiday spirit of giving, we thought we’d share the following note which we’ve sent to our doctor to pass along to this new stockholder…”

Dear Donor:

I am the recipient of one of the greatest gifts you have ever given–the gift of life. Without your donation, I was given about a year until my bone marrow myelodysplasia (MDS) progressed to deadly acute leukemia. Your stem cell gift arrived in my hospital room on July 4th and after the transplant (infusion) the celebration began.

The only information I’ve been given about you is that you’re a 33-year-old male and that you live in the United States.The transplant took only a couple hours and the procedure went well. The doctors and hospital assistants were terrific and when we meet I’ll share their names and location of the hospital. After nearly three months in or near the hospital, I was allowed to return home with my beloved wife and caregiver extraordinaire. She is a “Saint”. We’ve been married 51 years.

I am feeling well. My last biopsy indicated that I’m almost 100% donor (97.3%). However, it takes lots of time for healing and fine tuning by the doctors to prevent a relapse.

I’ve read all the rules by the National Donor Program on what I can and can’t say in this note. Under the limited category of what’s “OKAY TO SEND”:

Your Sex: Okay, I am male—married, two children , and two grandchildren.

Your Age: I am 75 years old. Initially, I bragged about now being your age, 33, but I was told by a friend I shouldn’t be making such public pronouncements since this new age would mean I’m too young to be eligible for Medicare.

Your General Profession, such as teacher: I’m a retired news correspondent.

Guess we’ll have to wait a year–after July 4, 2013–for all the personal details. Meanwhile, I want you to know that it is impossible to find words that adequately express my gratitude for what you’ve given to add to my time on this earth. I feel as though I’ve lived through a miracle–thanks to your generosity. How wonderful it is to have people like you who give of themselves to help others.

So until we actually meet in person, here’s wishing you and your family a Blessed and Joyous Holiday Season and a HEALTHY 2013.

P.S. My wife says she “can’t wait to hug you.”

After that, my friend added one more line, to all of us on his Christmas letter list:

We hope you also have a BLESSED HOLIDAY and never forget that everyday is a GIFT from our ultimate DONOR.

Amen, amen.  God bless him, and his donor.

Happy New Year.


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