It’s not a fair comparison, of course, because the gifts we are giving are tangible and often frivolous.
Wyatt Polachek, on the other hand, is giving precious hope and joy to families and children who had otherwise been at the edge of despair.
In fact, it is entirely possible that 12-year-old Wyatt Polachek is giving the gift of life itself to another child.
That, of course, would be a kind of Christmas miracle.
Even more miraculous is the fact that heroic young Wyatt Polachek is giving these gifts from beyond the grave. He passed away tragically on Dec. 3.
The story of his passing is a heartbreaking one. For his entire brief life, Wyatt had a food allergy. He was very aware of it and usually made others aware, as well. But somehow, at a party a few weeks ago, Wyatt ingested something that triggered what his obituary referred to as “an anaphylaxis event.” He died at Akron Children’s Hospital.
From all accounts Wyatt was a great kid.
Residing in rural Monroeville, Wyatt was a seventh grader at Seneca East schools where he was a model student, earning recognition for citizenship and good grades. He played all the major sports. Away from school, he was in 4-H and loved the outdoors.
And he always liked helping others.
Little could he know how much and how many others he would be helping this Christmas and beyond.
Lifebanc, the organ donation agency facilitating Wyatt’s incredible gifts, estimates that at least eight, and possibly many more, individuals can benefit from his donation.
We have all heard the heart-rending stories of individuals awaiting an organ donation. Without it, they suffer or die.
Wyatt Polachek, in his passing, is giving them the Christmas gift they need.
And it gives the rest of us a couple of important reminders.
First, if you have a food allergy, take it very seriously and be sure to tell your friends and restaurant servers and party hosts that you have it. Don’t be shy; it will pain any of them more than you will ever know if they give you something that causes you harm.
Second, when you provide food for others--especially when you may not know the people who will be consuming that food — remember that many ingredients can cause potentially dangerous allergic reactions.
Finally, when you have the opportunity to be an organ donor, take it. It is usually as easy as checking a box and signing your name.
In return, your friends and families and the grateful organ recipients will love and remember you always … just as we now remember and respect Wyatt Michael Polachek, gone far too soon but heroic in his passing.
Jim Busek is a freelance writer who lives in Norwalk. He can be reached vie email at firstname.lastname@example.org.