Anne Wilson vonBriesen Lurz
Age 73 - Houston, TX
Date of Donation: 06/03/2010
Select Specialty Hospital; Houston, TX

          When Lauren was born we had no idea how our life was going to change.  I know every new parent says that but ours was different.  At 6 months we were concerned that Lauren was not meeting her developmental milestones. We started therapies with her. She was going through all kinds of medical testing.   And it wasn’t until she was 10 years old that we finally got a diagnosis.  Even though a treatment was available it proved to be unsuccessful in older children – it can be compared to the movie Lorenso’s Oil.  With that said, Lauren was our life.  She never walked or talked but she loved to swing, she played the keyboard with purpose and would laugh at a sneeze.  We would make real fools of ourselves doing things to make her laugh.  When Lauren laughed she lit up the room and made everyone laugh which in turn made her laugh more.  She would often get the hiccups after a ‘laughing party’ making us laugh more and it would get going all over again. 

            When Lauren was 13½ she passed away.  We had not given donation any thought before this but in that moment we chose to donate her organs and tissue.  Lauren was able to donate her kidneys, heart valves and eyes.  In April 2011 we met one of Lauren’s kidney recipients. Since then we have become good friends and stay in contact regularly.  It was even her idea to form a team for our LifeGift  2nd Chance Run/Walk.   We had a team of 27 and most were her family & friends. We worked together to design a T-shirt that represented both lives and we named the team, Team Mariposa (Team Butterfly in Spanish).

            We have a whole different view of donation now.  I can’t imagine the loss of a child without knowing that something good came of it, her donated organs/tissues.  We now volunteer for our local OPO and Lauren’s legacy lives on in the lives she saved and in our efforts to spread the word in hopes to get the public educated on donation and get them registered as organ/tissue donors.

            At Lauren’s graveside we had a butterfly release. That is representative of her life from earth into heaven.  On earth she was trapped in a body that didn’t work.  Then upon death she gained life and became that beautiful butterfly free to fly.  We miss her deeply but would not take that new life away from her.

nne met Joe while still in high school. Joe said he was struck immediately by her beautiful blue eyes surrounded by auburn hair cut in a page boy style. On the way home Joe remembers saying to her cousin that he would marry Anne. Her cousin said Joe was crazy - - BUT, he did. Anne and Joe married during Joe’s senior year of high school. They celebrated over 54 years of marriage through both hard and good times.

Despite having little money in those early years, Anne kept the home fires burning, managed the household and was a wonderful mother to all of us children while Joe worked full time and studied to become an engineer. Anne was selfless and many times during their married life did without in order that others, whether friends or family would have food, clothing or care. She shared anything she had, regardless of her needs and desires. Anne was a fantastic cook and was particularly known for her wonderful pies. Joe always joked about her pie crusts saying they were the second best pie crusts after her father’s.

She raised her children with unconditional love, immense patience and many a “Wait until Your Father Comes Home.”  It took the children until they were older to realize that most times Joe never knew of their many wrongdoings.

They moved around a lot.  Anne always went to great lengths to help everyone  adjust to new homes, new schools and new friends by actively involving herself in the neighborhood, the community, church groups, Little League, Boy Scouts, Brownies, swim teams, hockey leagues or whatever activities the children chose to pursue.
Anne had a special relationship with her grandchildren whom she spoiled relentlessly
, despite their parents’ objections.  She condoned and encouraged many activities for her grandchildren that her own children were never permitted, from jumping on beds to sliding down banisters.  And only her grandchildren were allowed ice cream for dinner.  No wonder they always wanted to stay with MeMaw.

Her friends were so many and were very diverse. She played Bridge for 46 years but never took it too seriously.   She said she enjoyed the friendships and the game too much to make it into work.  Anne also played BUNCO, a game she once said she would never play because it was too mindless.  But, she did finally join a group of neighborhood ladies to play. As she said, it’s really not about the game, it’s about the wonderful people.

Anne had one major hobby that was a passion to her. She was a rug hooker for about 35 years and many of her works are museum quality pieces.

Anne’s smile was infectious, but it was when she started laughing that it was the most fun. It was impossible not to join in her laughter

Anne and Joe loved to travel, especially going on cruises.  Joe said cruising with Anne was always a pleasure.  She made friends on every continent as evidenced by the number of e-mails Joe received following her passing from places as far away as Australia, South Africa and South America.  All from people she met while cruising. The UN doesn’t do as good a job of bringing people together.

Anne particularly enjoyed working as a Greeter/Usher at the 7 A M mass at Christ the Redeemer CC. She frequently told Joe about people who, week after week, appeared gloomy and dour when coming into church. They quickly became her projects as she worked to get them to talk, to open up and to smile when they came through what she called “my door”.

Anne’s smile, along with her eyes let everyone know they were welcome.  She met no strangers.We all miss her blue eyes, her smile, her laughter, her guidance and most of all, we miss her love.At her passing she donated her body.  Her eyes were taken along with enough skin for 400 people.
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