Today would have been Katie’s 24th birthday. She is missed every day — not only by me, but by many others. It’s hard to believe that she’s been gone almost three years, but at the same time, it feels like it’s been longer than that.
I’ve healed. I’ve learned from my grief I experienced on September 18, 2012. I’ve grown as a human and as a friend. Most of all, I’ve grown in the decisions I make in my life. Our goal is to grow Remember Katie Donate Life into a living, breathing organization. One that can stand on its own and support the hospitals we work with long-term. I know Katie would want that — and so that’s what we are striving for.
Since today is Katie’s birthday, it’s a perfect time to take it back a little and remember some of the happy memories I shared with her. And there were a lot.
I remember her 16th birthday like it was yesterday. It was her first birthday post-transplant, and it was a great one. She got the keys to her Bahama Mama yellow Mustang, and we had a big party at our friend Jenna’s house. The best part was that it was a surprise — Katie had no idea it was happening. I’ll never forget the look on her face when we took the blindfold off her, or how angry she was before we took it off.
Since Katie missed freshman year’s Winter Formal, she was so excited to go to sophomore year’s dance. We started preparations early — like the beginning of December when the dance was in January. We went to Greenwood and tried on probably 50 dresses in various stores before we made it to David’s Bridal and tried on 20 more before finally finding the ones we bought. I told Katie that her red dress look really great with her bright green cast.
We did so much random stuff together. Thinking back, I think the most random is when we found a bathroom sink on the side of the road and picked it up. Why? I have no idea. But we did. We threw that thing in the trunk of my BMW and went to my house with it. Obviously my mom was thrilled that we brought home this god-awful thing.
I remember when she decided that she wasn’t a Mustang girl anymore — she wanted a truck. So she got a truck. The night they brought it to Columbus, Katie and I took two containers of Clorox wipes and wiped down every surface in that truck. It was probably the most sterile vehicle in the world at that moment.
I hope everyone will wish Katie a happy birthday, and talk with your loved ones about becoming an organ donor, if you’re not one already. Without Katie’s donor, she would have left us five and a half years earlier.
Happy birthday, Katie. I miss you so much.
Lindsey Thompson Christy