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Reflections: Somebody had to die for me to live
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Reflections: Somebody had to die for me to live

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Mark Daniel

As we approach Thanksgiving, I reflect back on June 26, 1996, the day I received my second chance at life with a liver transplant, and the day that the stark reality of somebody having to die for me to live hit me in the face!

With a 5% chance of not waking up from surgery and a 15% chance of not living for another year, I quickly became very THANKFUL for the gift of life and began looking at everyday occurrences in a different light.

The beauty of a sunrise and serenity of a sunset took on an entirely different meaning as I got the chance to check off another day on the books. My wife and two children helped me as I recovered and I learned to appreciate their smiles, courage and affection much, much more.

Twenty-four years ago I had no idea what I was about to face, but today as I reflect back, I truly am THANKFUL. My 16 year-old son is now 40, with a fantastic wife and has provided “Pop” with a vibrant young granddaughter Maddie Mae. My daughter, who was only 16 months old at the time, and truth be told, provided me the courage to live because I did not want to leave a newborn without a dad, has grown up to be a feisty mother and wife and has two fantastic young toddlers, James and Blayden.

Bad circumstances that used to drive me nuts, are certainly not as important to me these days. I regained the ability to speak after being rendered mute due to an immune suppressant complication and was able to continue my newspaper career and work in an industry I truly believe in. I remember having to say the alphabet letter by letter, and being THANKFUL when I could properly say the letter “J”, as this is the nickname of my son. A small step but one I am very THANKFUL for.

Rotary continues to be an important service club to me, as I’ve been a member for over 30 years. Their motto “Service Above Self” has become my calling card as I try to give back as much as I can, because of my second chance at life. I take great joy in providing service to others in our community and helping provide smiles to those not as fortunate as I.

As I reflect on the current health care and political situations that we all are subjected to, I recognize that these are certainly unique and trying times for all of us. The unrest in the country borders on insanity as businesses, livelihoods and families are destroyed because of a lack of understanding and compassion.

I suppose the second chance at life provides me a different perspective on what is truly important. I ask my friends, associates and the communities that the Sentinel and Enterprise Recorder serve, to take a step back, take a deep breath, and reflect on what you are THANKFUL for and share the goodwill with others this Thanksgiving season, instead of focusing on all of the negative news.


Onward …

Mark Daniel is the General Manager of the Hanford Sentinel, Lemoore Navy News and Selma Enterprise Kingsburg Recorder. 

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