Thursday, June 27, 2013

Everyone should get a chance to meet Alyssa Sandeen ... and her dad

Good news came today.

One of the Mankato area's celebrities, Alyssa Sandeen, got the news she'd been waiting for. A new donor heart was available, and it was going to go to her.

Now, as I write this, it's still early. It's about 3 p.m., and I was told by her father that she was heading into surgery now. Dad also told me that he'd told her there was still time for something to go wrong.

What? Something could still go wrong?

Yes. And the fact that he had the courage to tell her that is the mark of amazing father.

The Sandeen family has been through a lot, more than any family should have to endure. I can't imagine what the girl's mother has been through.

Part of me, though, can imagine Christopher Sandeen's ordeal. Don't get me wrong. I AM NOT saying I know what he's going through. Only a fool would say that about a family that has had to endure multiple organ transplants. But Chris and I have one thing in common. We both children we'd do anything fore.

I've had the pleasure of talking to him several times over the years about Alyssa's ordeal. Each time he tells me how he's handling the possibility of losing his daughter, I think about my own kids, and wonder how well I'd be handling it. And I thought about that today when he told me what he'd said to Alyssa when she called him.

It would have been really easy for him -- or any dad -- to just be elated, to share in Alyssa's joy that FINALLY, after so many months of waiting, she'd be getting a new heart. But it takes a real dad, in that moment when it'd be more fun to rejoice, to still do what you need to do. He still wanted to protect her, didn't want her to get her hopes up too high only to have them crushed. She needed a dad to hear what she had to say and be supportive. But she also needed a dad to remind her the fight isn't over.

So when you read the stories in the coming days about Alyssa, be happy for her. If you're the kind of person who prays, pray for her. But don't forget her parents. They've been through a helluva ride. Any parent could see that.

So I raise my glass to Mr. and Mrs. Sandeen. So should you.


  1. Alyssa's whole family has been through a lot. Her Mom has been with her the whole time! Chris has been driving back and forth and trying to work! I can't immagine what it has been like for them all! Hoping for the best outcome!

  2. God certainly knew what he was doing when he made them all a family!!! We all can learn from each and every one of the Sandeen family. May God wrap his loving arms around then all and keep them safe.

  3. Thanks for your comments, folks. I reread this and made a few changes. I don't want to leave the impression that I think Chris's experience has been worse than Alyssa's mother. I don't. I only meant to say that, as a father, I can relate to another father.

    I can also relate to both Mr. and Mrs. Sandeen as parents, so that's what the changes reflect.

    I apologize if anyone got the wrong idea. My heart goes out to the entire Sandeen family and extended family. And I'm hoping she comes out of this surgery the same spunky girl I got to know back in March.

  4. Being a chronic dx patient with a life-limiting disorder for which I receive a weekly synthetic enzyme treatment to replace what my body does not make and for which I will be having open heart surgery-valve replacement(s) in several wks I really admire Alyssa and her family!
    Thank you,