Known as “the missing Wall Street Journal reporter”, David Bird is so much more than that; he is my husband, my friend, my love. He is the father of our 2 teenage children, whom he adores. David is a son, a brother, a friend to many, a boy scout leader, and a mentor.
David is a gentle soul, an intellectual, a daydreamer, a quick wit, a talented writer, a determined athlete, a lover of nature, a man who loves life. As a liver transplant recipient, David is proof that organ donation saves lives and families and he has cherished both everyday since his transplant 10 years ago.
He loves watching our children’s lives unfold and has always been proud to share their accomplishments. He is a family man and his family is deeply missing him.
Six foot one, 200 pounds, it’s hard to believe a man of his stature can just vanish. But it happened, and it happens too often. I can’t describe the heartache I have felt since January 11, 2014. The anguish of not knowing what happened to him is torturous. It keeps me up at night and makes my head spin. It doesn’t go away and it won’t until David is found.
Running the New York Marathon to honor my donor and raise awareness of the critical need for organ donation was an opportunity that comes along only once in a lifetime. Hard to believe it was nine years ago on Marathon Sunday that I was undergoing testing to determine that I needed a transplant.
I met my goal of hitting the finish line in less time than I was in surgery.
Statistically, five people died awaiting transplant in the U.S., during my run and more than 40 more joined the 120,000-plus on the waiting list.
I had so many amazing teammates, some of whom have also received transplants.
A note pinned on my jersey thanked my donor and drew interest from many other runners. I met a Cleveland Clinic pilot who flies in would-be recipients when they get the call that an organ is available. An elderly Indian man told me how he carried out his mother’s wishes to donate her corneas. A young Hispanic man me how his mother received a double-lung transplant. On her next birthday, she stunned the family by blowing out the candles on her cake. They had a do-over to capture the moment with a photo. I met a kidney/lung transplant from Ohio, who was running in the race.
From the view of the Statue of Liberty – and the Coast Guard gun boat – escorting our ferry to Staten Island, to the pervasive police presence, it was a bit surreal.
It seems the many Europeans in the crowd were the ones who flinched most when the cannon sounded the start of our wave, a stroll of five minutes before the crowd spread to allow actual running. Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” blared, with many singing along.
I call my 26.2-mile ramble through the five boroughs: “Miles of Smiles.” Sometimes the smile was frozen on my face by the 30-mph headwinds, but mostly it was brought on by the pulse of the moving feast for the senses that New Yorkers provided. And I soaked it all in.
Security barriers kept spectators on the curb, by I made an effort to high-five every kid along the route that offered. I made sure to thank everyone for turning out to support us, including the thousands of volunteers at water stations. It was pretty awesome to hear an NY fireman in full turnout gear call out to the runners – “you guys are amazing.” Music of every strain at every mile – from Latin rhythm, to hard rock to a Gospel choir assembled on the steps of their church. A less-than-five-minute Indy style pit stop had first aid volunteers exorcise the cramps in my left thigh at mile 19 and send me back out.
So happy to see Nancy and Tasha and Alex cheering along the route – putting a lift in my step. Like everyday it was truly a great day to be alive.
Thanks to all who contributed and helped me top my fund-raising goal. And thank you for spreading the word on organ donation.
Devoted husband, father, brother, scout master, liver recipient, NJ Sharing Network volunteer, cyclist, marathon runner, journalist and a good friend to many.
SaveDavid.org website was developed when David was in desperate need of a liver transplant in 2004. David received his life saving liver transplant on December 19, 2004. He recovered fully, enjoyed an active lifestyle and remained forever grateful to his donor and her family.