#5. Courage in slow motion - Sept 2011

I think everyone wonders whether they would have the courage to save someone’s life if they were given the chance. Would you risk your life to pull someone out of a burning building?  Would you jump in the water to save someone who was drowning? 

I know someone who saw a car crash; he immediately ran and tried to get the person out of the rolled-over car. “Weren’t you afraid the car would blow up?” I asked him.

 “What would I do?” he answered. “Just stand far away and watch the person bleed to death?   I didn’t even think about it. They needed help and so I helped them.”

I had a conversation with one of my friends the other day; he was the first person I’ve told outside my family that I’m thinking of being a kidney donor. I asked him, “Would you jump into the water to save a drowning person, even if you knew you might be risking your own life?”  Without an instant’s pause he answered, “Absolutely. Last year I jumped into a frozen river to save my dog’s life!  She’d been walking on the ice and fell through, and I knew I had to save her.”    

I know a lot of people with courage like that. Years ago, my husband and I were driving late one night in downtown Winnipeg and we saw a couple of teenagers having a fight. One girl had another girl down on the ground and was banging her head against the sidewalk. A large group of teenagers was grouped around them, watching. My husband screeched the car to a halt and jumped out and ran to help the girl on the ground. He didn’t think for a minute that someone might attack him, or that maybe someone had a knife. Someone needed help and he helped.

Kidney donation is a bit different because it’s nothing fast. It’s courage in slow motion. Someone is dying, and you save their life; but it takes a lot of time. You have to do a bunch of tests and meet a lot of people, and have an operation and recover. But in the end the result is the same. You save a life. I want to be the type of person who would save someone’s life. Maybe I will get a chance to do this. I hope so.