Tabitha's Wish - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Tabitha's Wish

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Duncan McLindon with Tabitha Duncan McLindon with Tabitha

A north shore sixth grader is the most important person in the world to seven people she's never met. Twelve year old Tabitha McLindon made a monumental decision on a random day last year. Her wish turned out to be the most important choice of her life.

"Anything she got into she just excelled to the top," said Duncan McLindon about his daughter.

It took her six months to take command of the guitar, the same way she commands her father's heart.

" She never gave me any problems at all. She was the perfect child."

Funny and smart Tabitha wrapped her arms around life. In April of last year the playful 12 year old did something very grown up.

Tabitha opened up a checking account and she needed a proper Louisiana identification card. Tabitha's mom took her to the DMV.

"They asked her if she wanted to be an organ donor and she said yes, absolutely!" said Duncan.

A few days later Duncan understood just how big his daughters decision was.

"When I dropped her off she was the picture of health."

Tabitha went to her best friend's skating party on April 15th and then,

"I got a phone call that said she slipped and fell and bumped her head. I talked to her and they said oh, go ahead and pick me up. I got a phone call and they said she'd gone into a seizure and that was it."

 She was rushed to Children's hospital. Her illness had nothing to do with skating.

"It was a type of virus that can get in your body. It landed in the base of her brain. She had a massive brain bleed," her father said.

Doctors pronounced Tabitha Anne McLindon dead on April 18, ten days after she agreed to be an organ donor.

"Two kidneys, lungs, heart, pancreas," Duncan McLindon said. "She understood you know, it was her gift."

Not much has changed in Tabitha's room since her death,but the people she's touched has brought her father some peace.

 "Dear Duncan, my name is Arthur and I just want to say thank you to you and your family for giving me a second chance at life," McLindon read from yellow legal paper.

The man who received Tabitha's kidney wrote a letter to Duncan hoping they'd always be friends.

Tabitha's remains are on the grounds of St. Joseph's Abby in Coving ton and it was at her final resting place that her father arranged to meet one of the precious lives her organs saved.

"I've been waiting for short of a year right now, I feel like I'll be seeing a part of Tabitha again. It's very exciting to see a gift that was given."

15 year old Christyn Buffinet lives about 30 miles from the McLindons in Franklin ton. While Tabitha was healthy and happy, she was on oxygen and could barely breathe. She was quickly losing her battle against Cystic Fibrosis, a chronic lung disease.

 She was diagnosed at about two years old and she's been in and out of the hospital for years," said her father James Buffinet. "When they put her on the transplant list the doctor said he'd be surprised she'd make it another year without a transplant."

Tabitha's death brought an answer for Christyn and her family.

Now, a year later, Duncan connects with Christyn and, in a way,  with Tabitha again.

"Hello, how are you doing. It's so nice to meet you," He told the petite girl as he embraced her. A visible scar on her chest  told the tale of Tabitha's gift.

"I really don't know how to explain it," said Christyn. "It's like my dad said earlier it's a roller coaster of emotions. I have a picture of Tabitha on my phone and it's my wallpaper. When somebody asks me who it is I say it's my best friend."

Tabitha McLindon became an angel for strangers with very little hope.

"That is the one thing that gets me up everyday to continue a normal life," Duncan McLindon said.

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