Some say that the Chinese symbol for a crisis can also mean opportunity in a time of danger. As well as the opportunity that living donation affords the recipient for a new lease of life after donate a kidney facing a medical crisis, so too can it offer the living donor a powerful opportunity: The opportunity to reevaluate their own life; their fitness, their emotional wellbeing and even their life goals; to become the person that they truly wish to be.
In 2002 Pearl Howie donated a kidney to her brother and in 2010 she published a book about the physical and emotional journey of being a living donor “The Wee, The Wound And The Worries.
We are coming to the close of National Donate Life Month. April was the month set aside to bring awareness to others, of how their donation of organs and tissue can not only save one life, but have a ripple effect to all those who are connected to it.
Yes, donation is a beautiful thing. I have had the privilege of being donated to TWICE! My lovely mother gave me life twice – once back in 1978, and then with my first transplant in 1994. That one act of selflessness gave me 15 beautiful years. Those years were full of graduations, marriage, children, and travel – things that may not have been possible if I were still “sick”.
In 2009, that kidney decided to go into retirement. I guess “she” said she had worked long and hard enough, and she gave her notice. December of that year, I went right back on dialysis and was on the hunt for another kidney. Family lined up. Then the most beautiful thing happened. My sister volunteered. Despite all of our fights, arguments, and fussing growing up, in January of 2010, my younger sister stepped up to the plate. She got tested and was found to be an exact match. In March, she marched with me to the hospital, put on that ever so lovely operating gown, and donated her kidney. It took courage for her as she’s never had any major surgery, yet her love for me surpassed her fear – and I thank God for her every day.
So why am I telling you this? Well I’m telling you for one simple reason. YOU can make a difference. By simply donating an organ, or two, or three, or maybe even more (yes, I know that may be a little much to ask, but one can dream right?), you can change the course of someone’s life.