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December 25, 2013 ·

I’ve always tried to teach the boys the meaning of giving to others. Altruism is especially important as it is the act of giving without expecting anything in return.

A few years ago, my sister was having a very difficult time financially. She didn’t know how she was going to provide for her family or buy any gifts for her family.

Corey and I wanted to help. I’m not rich either, but I had some extra cash at that time. But I knew my sister would not accept money from me.

So we sat down and concocted a way to give her the money anonymously and create a Christmas miracle for her family that they would always remember.

Corey and I sat down and created cards for each of her children and put a small amount of money in each envelope. We told each child that Santa wanted their help in giving one of their siblings a gift. Each child was assigned a sibling, and they were told not to tell anyone who they were assigned. Then my sister and her husband were given money to buy a nice Christmas dinner. All were put in a large envelope, with a note and directions for my sister.

Then when we’d made sure there was nothing that could link us to the deed, we waited until midnight and made the trek to her home. I parked a few doors down, and Corey was dressed in dark clothing. We decided to leave the envelope in their mailbox.

Corey acted like a spy on a mission. He slunked along like the “Pink Panther”. Hiding behind poles, peeking around trees. If a dog barked, he froze where he was.

When he finally got to the mailbox, it was frozen shut. He tried tugging quietly, but he finally had to yank hard enough that it made a small thud. He thought for sure he was busted. He ran all the way back to the car and said, “GO! GO! GO!!!”

The next day, my sister called me. She’d received our gift. At first I thought I was busted. Instead, she told me what the letter said and asked if I would be willing to help my niece buy her gift for her sibling. I let Corey listen in. He grinned from ear to ear.

He’d learned about altruism.

Yesterday afternoon (Christmas Eve) I got a letter from one of Corey’s organ recipients. She received his liver. Ultimately, the liver failed. However, it extended her life long enough to receive another liver. She is doing fine now. She wrote to tell me thank you for our gift.

I would be lying if I said this Holiday season has been anything less than painful.

Today- Christmas day- is the day we celebrate the birth of Christ. Whether or not it was the actual day of His birth is in debate, but it doesn’t lessen the fact that we choose to celebrate it on the 25th of December.

He lived a very short life. His last act was to sacrifice himself for the lives of those that believe in Him.

In no way am I comparing the sacrifice of Jesus to the death of Corey. However, it does not escape me that the last act of my son was to give life to others.

The gift of his organs saved 5 lives. And in the long run he saved their families from feeling the pain we are experiencing this holiday season.

Remember, it’s not what you receive today that is important. It is what you give.

Merry Christmas.

Gwen Carver

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