‘A Gift Before I Go’ is a children’s book that addresses the topic of death and organ donation, while shining a light on the gift of life.
This book was written as a tool to assist parents with this difficult conversation either during, or after the passing of a loved one which can be a very challenging time.
Why we created A Gift Before I Go
In 2011, Leah’s mum Chris died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. Chris had always talked to Leah about her wishes to become an Organ Donor, and through her passing gifted 3 people life which then started their journey as a Donor Family.
Leah found dealing with Chris’ sudden death hard to comprehend, but even harder for her 2 children Cheyenne and Brock who were just 8 and 10 years of age at the time of their Grandmother’s passing. Leah wanted to help other parents who were about to face this challenging time, to ensure they could focus on the amazing gift their loved-ones were about to give, whilst also creating lasting memories in their final hours.
Cheyenne, Leah’s daughter, has given life to the words of ‘A Gift Before I Go’ through her beautiful use of imagery and colour. Cheyenne has done this in a child-like way, as she understands what other children may be experiencing.
Creating 'A Gift Before I Go' has been a big part of Leah and her children's healing.
Have the chat with your loved ones and register your wishes.
If organ donation is something you have thought of please have a discussion with your family and sign up to your countries Organ Donor register.Knowing your loved one's wishes can make this process a little easier at such a challenging and difficult time.
The biggest gift Chris gave her family at the time of her death, was the clarity of knowing exactly what her wishes were.
Leah recalls this discussion first taking place when she was 10 years old. Many may feel this is a morbid conversation to have with a child but the reality was that death had already turned their world upside down so Chris knew that tomorrow is never promised and things can change in a blink of an eye. Chris' husband had died in a car accident when she was 22 leaving her a widow with a 2yr old toddler. The grief consumed Chris as you can imagine but it also became the driving force behind her passion to be an organ donor. If she could spare one family experiencing the grief that she had then of course she wanted to give the gift of life.