The speech by the widow of Jersey City Det. DiNardo promoting organ donation and her decision to donate his organ
Mary DiNardo, widow of Jersey City Detective Marc DiNardo, gave a speech at Liberty State Park yesterday. She talked about her decision to donate her husband's organ's after he died from wounds suffered in a shootout with two suspects last year.
Here is the entire speech:
One year ago today, I said goodbye to my husband Marc, the love of my life, the father of our children. It was the worst day of my life, knowing I would never see him, speak with him and kiss him ever again.
We all heard the story of what had happened on July 19, 2009 in Jersey City... I am here to tell you what happened 3 days later. All of our hoping and praying that Marc would pull through had ended. The doctors at Jersey Medical Center had informed us that Marc's brain stem had hemorrhaged and there was nothing more they could do. My husband was pronounced at 9:14 p.m. on July 19th. Marc had lost his fight and I know he was fighting his hardest to come back to us. I was in a state of shock and could not understand why this senseless act had happened and needed to makes sense of it.
I immediately asked the doctors if Marc was a candidate for organ donation. They told me he was and would have someone from the NJ Sharing Network speak with me. I am a registered organ donor, but my husband wasn't. I remember when the controversy over Terry Shriver, the woman in the vegetative state whose husband wanted to take out her feeding tube made the news. Marc and I discussed our wishes if anything were to happen to either of us. I know he did not want machines to keep him alive and I knew he wanted his organs donated if possible. We always thought there was time. Time to register as an organ donor, time to have a living will, but July 16th changed all that and we ran out of time.
I thank god that we had that discussion and urge you to have that discussion with your family members, so they know your wishes and to register today. When the NJ Sharing Network came in to speak with me, even knowing what I had just told you, I still felt my decision to donate Marc's organs was done out of selfishness. I felt selfish because I needed a reason for Marc's death; I needed something good to come from it. I believe in God and I also believe everything happens for a reason, whether or not that reason makes itself known in one hour or one hundred years. I needed a reason at that moment I felt selfish because I was not thinking of the organ recipients, I was thinking of wanting an answer for Marc's life to have had to come to an end. Giving someone else a second chance to live made sense in this senselessness.
I cannot tell you who was in the room with me from the Sharing Network, but I can tell you that every question I had were based on what I had seen on TV, and not even from documentaries. I do remember one of the nurses saying to me, "wow Mary, you watch a lot of 'ER'," and I did. The most important question I had was, "Am I going to have some time? Can I lay with him for one last night?" On TV dramas, they are always pressuring the family to make a decision because the guy in the next room needs an organ. I did have time.
The NJ Sharing Network sat with me, answered any question I had, as ridiculous as it may have seemed. I had no idea that it was more than organs... It was soft tissue and bones, ligaments and skin, there were parts of the body that they had to explain to me what it was, and with each one I decided yes or no without feeling pressured into donating everything. They explained the procedure to me and whatever was not viable for recipient went to science. Through his death, my husband not only gave others a chance to live, he also gave so others could learn.
The hardest part was waiting for them to match my husband's organs with a recipient. As you have heard, Marc had lost a lot of blood on the morning of July 16th, so much, that they could not type him. they needed his blood type in order to find a match to minimize the possible rejection of the transplanted organ. If it weren't for blood donation(s) and drives, I may not have had those three extra days with Marc.
What I think is so important about donating blood, is that you get a license that states organ donor and directly behind it, I have my Blood donor's card that states what type I am. There will be a blood drive in honor of Marc on July 30th at the Newport Center Towers, where it was held last year, on Marc's birthday.
I find comfort knowing that Marc is living through his recipients. I received a letter from the man who received Marc's heart, seven weeks after his transplant, he was able to march two and a half miles in his town's Labor day parade... Just 7 weeks, I can find that amazing and inspiring. I hope to some day meet all the recipients that Marc is living through. I want to put my arms around them, cry with them and most importantly let them know, "It's all right."
I miss Marc more than words can truly express. I will never forget the sacrifice he made that day, but I find peace knowing that through Organ and tissue donation, he lives on within others. I hope you register today to become an organ and tissue donor. It is a responsible choice to make. It is a selfless act and the greatest gift you can possibly give to another human being. Thank you.