To What Extent

Posted by: 
Rod Spadinger

It’s the act of being entrusted with something of value. Something so precious to you and that you hold so dear. It is that something that has so much value, you feel that you are a keeper of such an object.  

How did you protect your first toy? That entry level Barbie Doll. The Back to the Future Hot Wheels car you received on your ninth birthday.

How did you protect your high school class ring? The ring that signifies your accomplishments of youth, the first step into adulthood. Beginning the clamber up the ladder of maturity and anticipated success. 

How did you protect your wedding ring? Did you utilize the fanciest of jewelry chemical cleaners or merely soak it in a tub of warm soapy water? Checking it every other week to ensure the stones and prongs remain in solid condition.

How did you protect your lawn over the winter? Did you seed it in the fall, fertilize it before the first frost? With the expectation of outperforming the Hudson's next door.

How did you protect your family pet? Did you take Sasha the Siamese to the vet in order to get vaccinated every three to four weeks until the age of four months? Purchasing Vladimir the Pug boots and a rain jacket to protect him from the dewy, chilly mornings on the daily walk, lest Vlad be thwarted with a canine parainfluenza virus (or something similar).

How did you protect your ’80 Chevrolet Citation graduation gift? Did you polish it with CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant with Panglossian hopes of making it glow? Parking two stalls away from the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and its seemingly 75-inch dent-inducing doors in the Nebraska Furniture Mart parking lot.

On the morning I awoke from my transplant in late August 2017, I knew I had something special. It was something I knew, even before I was told, that was a gift. Something that was breakable. Something that was extraordinarily precious. Something that was greater than a once-in-a-lifetime gift, the benefaction that allowed me to keep my life. 

Two new lungs. One new liver. From my donor, Joni Marie.

So I submit to you a question. To what degree would you extend efforts to protect this endowment, these objects of so much value, which have been passed on to you? 

To what degree would you be the keeper of this bounty? These objects from someone who lost her life. And has provided you with a second.

To what extent?


   Help Others Live STRONGER and LONGER- 



Rod Spadinger, 48, has Cystic Fibrosis. Born and raised in Hawaii, he moved to Dallas, Texas, where he underwent a double lung and liver transplant in August 2017. From the age of four, until he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis as a junior in high school, he ran at least five miles a day to keep his lungs clean. In 2019, and into early 2020, he journeyed to connect with fellow Cystic Fibrosis patients throughout the United States, having driven over 26,000 miles with these travels. Inspired by The Lord and his angel donor, Joni Marie, who provided him with her gifts of life, Rod published the memoirs of his post-transplant journey, and celebration of this second life, in the book “A Collection of 50 Stories Inspired by my Ange Donor, Joni Marie”. He is currently compiling a subsequent publication, primarily consisting of documenting his road trip encounters with fellow CF Warriors. Rod also Co-Founded and is the Executive Director of a CF focused non-profit organization, CF Vests for Life Foundation (  Connect with him on Facebook under his name, and on Facebook at Cystic Fibrosis Artists; Two New Lungs, One New Liver – A Year and Beyond with Cystic Fibrosis; and CF Vests for Life Foundation.



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