Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I have been so busy with school yet, I am not overwhelmed. A little fearful that I won't have enough people return completed surveys, but not overwhelmed. As I have named my blog, so have I named my thesis. Below, I have copied the passage that connects to how I imagine organ donation transpires. It is dramatic and beautiful, a romanticized version of death. IF YOU ARE A TRANSPLANT CANDIDATE, RECIPIENT, LIVING DONOR, LIVING DONOR CANDIDATE (CURRENT OR PREVIOUSLY EVALUATED) OR YOU ARE A FAMILY MEMBER, PLEASE CONTACT ME TO PARTICIPATE IN MY STUDY. MY RESEARCH CONCLUDES ON 12/31/08!

Five Weeks in a Balloon by Jules Verne- Chapter 23
A magnificent night overspread the earth, and the missionary lay quietly asleep in utter exhaustion.
"He'll not get over it!" sighed Joe. "Poor young fellow--scarcely thirty years of age!"
"He'll die in our arms. His breathing, which was so feeble before, is growing weaker still, and I can do nothing to save him," said the doctor, despairingly.
"The infamous scoundrels!" exclaimed Joe, grinding his teeth, in one of those fits of rage that came over him at long intervals; "and to think that, in spite of all, this good man could find words only to pity them, to excuse, to pardon them!"
"Heaven has given him a lovely night, Joe--his last on earth, perhaps! He will suffer but little more after this, and his dying will be only a peaceful falling asleep."
The dying man uttered some broken words, and the doctor at once went to him. His breathing became difficult, and he asked for air. The curtains were drawn entirely back, and he inhaled with rapture the light breezes of that clear, beautiful night. The stars sent him their trembling rays, and the moon wrapped him in the white winding-sheet of its effulgence.
"My friends," said he, in an enfeebled voice, "I am going. May God requite you, and bring you to your safe harbor! May he pay for me the debt of gratitude that I owe to you!"
"You must still hope," replied Kennedy. "This is but a passing fit of weakness. You will not die. How could any one die on this beautiful summer night?"
"Death is at hand," replied the missionary, "I know it! Let me look it in the face! Death, the commencement of things eternal, is but the end of earthly cares. Place me upon my knees, my brethren, I beseech you!"
Kennedy lifted him up, and it was distressing to see his weakened limbs bend under him.
"My God! my God!" exclaimed the dying apostle, "have pity on me!"
His countenance shone. Far above that earth on which he had known no joys; in the midst of that night which sent to him its softest radiance; on the way to that heaven toward which he uplifted his spirit, as though in a miraculous assumption, he seemed already to live and breathe in the new existence.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I have not blogged in so long. I am alright for those of you that have meailed to check in. School and work full time along with the management of my health is quite a wonder to behold. I am thankful for the joy I have in my life, my friends and family, always. Special people that enter your life, pick up the baggage you've accumulated on your journey and continue on with you as a travel partner.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


It was April 10, 1999 and a day that I will not ever forget. It was the day that I received the gift of life from my Great Uncle Bob (pictured above) who was then 67 years old. In the sadness and loss my family experienced that day, his death was transformed into life, a new life for me. I can't even fathom that it has been nearly a decade since it feels like just yesterday, but at the same time, it feels like a lifetime ago. Ironically, it was a different lifetime. Certainly without that double lung transplant, I would be long gone. Instead, I cherish every day as a blessing and opportunity to make the world a little bit better just by living in it.
I hope that as you read this, you think of your own existance and perhaps tell someone about organ donation with my story in mind.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

OUT OF THE LOOP...Is that how you feel as a result of my complete and utter lack of blogging? Well, it's my life and I feel out of the loop too. In fact, the only loops that have been in my life are the circles I am running around myself. I have been caught up with thought and my mind almost never shuts off. I haven't even been avle to take a satisfying nap, which for me is a favorite pasttime! The first quarter of 2008 I find myself disengaged from the things that matter, like school. I haven't been as on top of things like I usually am even though I still find it enjoying, challenging and rewarding. I have been working regularly at self- storage, but with no one to talk to, I usually go a little nutty after 18 hours of quiet. Lately, customers have been rude and frankly, I'd rather tell them to go f@#$ themselves! "Uncle Bob's offers a 10x10 for a $107 a month. You have it for $110. What are you going to do for me?" I wanted to tell him to go back to Uncle BOb's and stick that extra 3 bucks up his ass, but alas, since the Balboni clan has their names on all the businesses in true Trump fashion, I bit my tongue and told him that the $110 was the best we could offer. I don't set the prices. I wasn't even smug (until the door shut). In a recent survey, one question asked if I like my job, to which I replied- yes...when it likes me. I find that I like the job when I see money come in for my collection attempts. Although these days, with the economy in the shitter, I find it sad that so many are having a hard time making ends meet. I really am the collections bitch.

My health has been on the up swing for several months now until St. Patrick's Day, when I caught the flu full force. I was hedging bets that I actually might make it without an illness all winter. Figures that three days before spring I come down with something. Besides the aches, pains, temperature and general malaise that comes with being sick, I have grown impatient with the interruption. I have been fighting it aggressively to the point where I am here both days at mini storage this weekend, even though I thought better of it. "Bed, stay in bed!" my inner voice says. Then I squelch it. I have too many things going on to stay and hibernate in the cave (sans windows- getting old).

I have been hired again by Vinfen! I have accepted a 20 hour position as a rehab specialist for twice the change I am making at the family business. I figured that it was a good starting point before jumping off into a 40 hour 9-5 with commuting. The hours are flexible,it's local, and it actually uses my degree! I have three months before the next fiscal year when they decide whether or not to fund it fully so its a trial for me. It doesn't have benefits but I still have trial work time so I can put in the 3 months and see what happens. Best of all, I can still do the family business thing without disrupting my responsibilities. When I discussed it with Priscilla, the Balboni family therapist, she thought it was a good idea and that my family would be supportive. Of course, I am sure that someone will be pissed off.

Truth is, I need more money. School is expensive and though I have applied for scholarships, it will still be a while before I see just how much of the cost is defrayed. Addtionally, there is a school trip to Brussels in the fall. (The only Brussels I can afford are sprouts!) It would be a great opportunity to go and get a certificate in international law and policy, especially exposure to a different type of organ procurement system.

Well, that's all for now. Mom brought lunch!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

I have been a bad blogger (as many of you have pointed out)! In fact, I have just recently downloaded my Christmas pictures from my camera. Recent pictures to follow. For now, I wanted to alert my friends and family that I will be soliciting them by mail on behalf of D/B/A or Dare to Be Alive, a local non-profit benefiting transplant recipients. If you can afford to give, please do. Here's a preview of what's to come. No guilt required, but if you do have some and it helps you open your check book, more power to you!

Serving individuals with organ transplants!
Winter 2008

Dear Friends and Family,

As you know, since I received my first transplant in April of 1999 I have been dedicated to advancing the cause of organ donation awareness and education. Through my volunteer efforts, I met Deanna Arnold, a liver recipient and founder of Dare to Be Alive Foundation Inc., a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. D/B/A has been serving individuals with organ transplants by providing financial, mentoring and social supports on the Cape and Islands since 2004. This year D/B/A is serving all of Massachusetts. I affiliated quickly with the group and now serve on the Board of Directors.

There are currently 98,000 people waiting to receive an organ transplant and 17 will die each day waiting to receive the gift of life. Thankfully, I am not one of them. Though I knew that not everyone was as fortunate as I to have such a wide network of family and friends to lend a hand, my work with D/B/A has put a face to those who struggle to handle this new blessing and financial burden. The average cost of maintaining a healthy organ after transplantation is $5,000.00 per month and not all individuals have the funds or proper health insurance to cover the cost of this new life long expense.

Therefore I am turning to my network to ask that you consider D/B/A when you make your charitable donations this year. Heck, there’s no time like the present! All donations are tax deductible and directly benefit programs and services for transplant recipients like me. I know that many of you work for giving corporations that may be willing to offer matching donations or contributions. Will you ask?

Dare to Be Alive Foundation Inc. will be hosting its 4th Annual Track & Field Event Fundraiser on Saturday May 17, 2008 at the Barnstable High School in Hyannis, Massachusetts. The Track & Field Event is open to individuals of all ages who want to participate in a non-competitive track and field event or to improve on their abilities for the up coming season. This year’s event will include a Martial Arts demonstration from Mid Cape Tae Kwon Do, raffle prizes including a chance to win a 2008 Corvette, and pledge prizes. Mark your calendar and spread the word! While I don’t think I’ll be running, I will definitely be volunteering and cheerleading- about as athletic as this girl gets!

Please feel free to visit the website listed below and here more about the organization! There you’ll also see the highlights of Deanna, who, with her new liver, runs marathons!

Warm Regards,

Jill Marie Balboni
Double Lung Transplant Recipient (1999)
Kidney Recipient (2005)

230 North Main Street South Yarmouth, MA 02664 (508) 398-1260