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May 5, 2013 by Neil Willens (Register to contact)

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Thoughts of a Lifetime: Transplant Poetry of Hope by Neil Willens (April, 2013, *****.com)
With no knowledge of the time left him before death for want of a life-saving organ transplant, Neil Willens found his voice. With his day/night cycle reversed, he was able to express his deepest emotions by writing in the quiet hours. Through this solitary nighttime activity, he exposed his inner being to the light of day, gaining unexpected revelations. Thoughts of a Lifetime are the poetic expressions of his self-discovery on the journey. Dealing with huge stress, he faced his mortality each day for 30 years. This volume is about the transformation of that experience.

The book begins in 1970, when Willens first learned he had liver disease. He would wait for the next seven years for the first successful liver transplants and then twenty more years, until he’d reached the “end stage” where it was either transplant or perish. And he spent three additional years in limbo, waiting on a transplant list for his name to be called. Many patients wait on a liver transplant list and a donor organ is not available in time to save their life. The emotion of living in jeopardy, and the thirty years of waiting, are explored through rare poetic expression.

Thoughts of a lifetime is full of astute observations and the heartfelt emotion of life on a seesaw between hope and despair. It also reveals the extreme irony of the origin of the author’s disease. Through his work as a liver transplant researcher, he was exposed to the virus that would change the course of, and almost end, his life. The book is intended to inspire those facing a long illness, and their caretakers, with both his courage and sensitivity. It is at once a personal and universal story of how, on a daily basis, an individual copes with the unthinkable.

About the Author

Neil Willens, who has worked as a consultant in the medical products and energy-saving device fields, is a professional photographer, whose images have sold around the world. For consecutive years, he has exhibited at Georgetown University Hospital and his work is in private collections. Recently, he served as volunteer campaign photographer for John Delaney, newly elected representative to Congress from Maryland's 4th District.
Within the Washington DC transplant community, Neil Willens is an active speaker and mentor. Since 2,000, when he received his transplant, Mr. Willens written about his experiences and published his poetry. Thoughts of a Lifetime: Transplant Poetry of Hope is a new collection, which provides a personal context for the work.
Thoughts of a Lifetime: Transplant Poetry of Hope, is now available as an ebook at:
For interviews contact the author at (240) 353-XXXX or *****

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