By Andrew Stark
In late 2013, Tom Ottman sat down to write one the most personal and heartfelt letters he’d penned in his 63 years of life.
The recipient was a stranger and the subject matter was someone whom he’d never met and with whom he would likely never cross paths with again. But as Ottman sat trying to put into words the love, appreciation and admiration he had for this man he’d never meet and a family he would likely never know, he carefully combed over every word to make sure they were just right.
“I gave it a lot of thought,” Ottman said. “I acknowledged the fact there is no adequate way to thoroughly or properly thank someone for their generosity in the worst moment in their life, and to stop and think about someone else at that time in their life.”
Ottman, who is now 65, had received a kidney transplant from a 40-year-old man who lived in or around the Charlotte area—the identities and details of deceased donors are kept private for obvious reasons—and had passed away from a stroke. […]