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ORGAN DONOR LEAVES A LEGACY

Dear Abby: Our son, Ricky, always had a smile for everyone he met. He gave his whole heart whenever he could, especially to his sister, his family and those he loved. You could see his happy, smiling face and hear his laughter wherever he was.

On March 6, 2000, we lost our 19-year-old special son due to tragic circumstances. True to his giving, loving nature, Ricky was an organ and tissue donor. His final gift was to help more than 80 people live healthy, happy lives - from the young father who can now see his children grow up due to the gift of Ricky's corneas, to the athlete whose heart is now healthy because of one of Ricky's heart valves.

We were able to grant our son his last wish because he let us know this is what he wanted. Ricky's gifts have also helped us, because we have the comfort of knowing that he is not truly gone, but lives on in others, now and forever.

Abby, because April is National Donate Life Month, won't you please encourage your readers to consider becoming organ donors? Thank you.

- Richard, Ellen and Kristen Mullane

Dear Richard, Ellen and Kristen: I'm pleased to print your poignant letter as a reminder to everyone about what a precious gift that each of us can give if we wish - and our families agree. That is why it is so important to let our loved ones know what our wishes are well in advance. Have that discussion. Get the subject out on the table.

Readers, for more information about organ donation, or a free organ donor card, contact the National Kidney Foundation at Box DA, 30 E. 33rd St., New York, N.Y. 10016, or call toll-free (800) 622-9010, or visit www.kidney.org.

Grandparents disappoint

Dear Abby: I have been happily married to "Lenny" for five years. I have three children from a former marriage who live with us; Lenny has two who live with his ex three hours away. They stay with us every other weekend.

Lenny's mother will drive 3 1/2 hours just to see her grandchildren in a school concert for one hour. My children have invited my in-laws repeatedly to come and watch them at sporting events. However, my mother-in-law will come only if it takes no more than 15 minutes to get there. This is very disappointing because my parents are not into being grandparents. I had hoped that my in-laws would love my children as they love their other grandchildren.

Should I continue to let this bother me, or should I have Lenny say something to them again about it?

- Hurt in Pennsylvania

Dear Hurt: Let it go. It would be wonderful if your children had caring older people in their lives, but your parents are too preoccupied with themselves, and Lenny's parents are unwilling to open their hearts. The more you dwell on this, the more your hurt and anger will grow.