Go to the gallery of Thankfulness that didn’t make the print edition.
Rochelle Loritts, pictured here during her daily walk at the Green Ridge Recreation Center, had a kidney transplant from her son, Jason Loritts in February 2011. "Thankful is not enough of a word for the love and care I have been given by my family, " she says. | By Kyle Green | The Roanoke Times
This time last year, Rochelle Loritts was spending 12 hours per week in a medical office. Her kidneys had failed as a result of diabetes that had plagued her for years.
She was in her 15th month of dialysis, and “I became weaker and sicker as time went on,” she told me.
Loritts, 65, of Northwest Roanoke, could barely walk without assistance. She had to move out of her two-story home because she couldn’t make it up the stairs.
But her life changed dramatically in February. Her eldest son, Jason Loritts, 38, of Suffolk, donated one of his kidneys to her. He was the best match of all three of her sons, who together decided they had to do something for their mom.
And oh my goodness she is grateful.
So are many others, based on answers from scores of readers to this simple question: “For what are you thankful?”
“As a result of my transplant, I am a new person,” Loritts wrote. “The University of Virginia will forever have my gratitude, respect and patronage for the outstanding care and monitoring of me and my son.
“Now, I am walking a minimum of 5 miles a week and I am able to assume most of my old lifestyle, which can be summed up in one word — active.
“Thankful is not enough of a word for the love and care I have been given by my family, my significant other of 11 years, Billy Gilbert (he was also my caregiver), UVa, many well wishers praying for me and my brave and loving Jason,” Loritts wrote.
“Sometimes on my daily walks I become tearful, full to the brim with joy and thankfulness for this new lease on life. I am committed to raising awareness of the many dangers of diabetes and the many rewards of organ donorship.”
Issues of sickness and health, and of loved ones lost and saved, were a dominant theme in this year’s reader responses. Much of what follows was edited for space, and others were omitted. Many of those are on my blog, at blogs.roanoke.com/dancasey
One arrived Nov. 14, literally from beyond the grave.
Thomas Allen of Roanoke County worked on it for a long time, his family told me. He mailed it on Friday, Nov. 11 — and then he died the next day. Read more »