The Risk of Love

Alex Koehne. Image source: ABC News
Jim and Lisa Koehne (pronounced KAY-na) felt they gave what a transplant surgeon called “a gift from the Almighty” when they donated the organs of their 15-year-old son Alex, who at that time doctors thought died of bacterial meningitis.

But, autopsy showed that Alex actually died from a rare form of lymphoma. The Koehnes later learned that a 52-year-old man who received their son’s liver died a few months later of the same blood cancer. Then a 36-year-old woman who received the donor pancreas also died from lymphoma. Two recipients of the donor kidneys had it removed and are now getting cancer treatment.

Jim and Lisa Koehne. Image source: The Sag Harbor Express
(However, please do not give up your donor cards. Experts assure us that such case of getting cancer from an organ donor is extremely rare, as in only 64 in a study of 230,000 cases in the U.S.)

Despite what happened, the Koehnes do not regret their decision to donate the organs of their son. They still believe that organ donation saves lives. They have even started a foundation to fund cancer research. (Source: Yahoo! News)

Image source: Jeff K. Clarke
Such is the risk of giving. When we love a person, we make ourselves vulnerable. We risk rejection or ridicule. However, we must keep on loving. The fact that some people may not appreciate what we are doing should not make us withdraw from it. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:9-10, NIV) I believe the one another commands in the New Testament reveal what God wanted the church to be. Though there is always a risk that others would not or could not, we should still seek to become a “one another” community.

My take? Still, let us risk love.


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