December 9, 2007

Kidney Donation: A Personal Story

On Friday, I wrote about Michael Larson, a twelve-year-old boy who needs a kidney transplant to survive. His mother Leah has allowed me to tell Michael's story in hopes that we can find a living donor with type B or type O blood to give the gift of life to Michael. I intend to write every few days on Michael and transplants, but after Friday's post, I received an e-mail from Amy Kissling, a CapQ reader and a living donor herself, asking if she could tell her story.

I have written this because you might be donating a kidney to a loved one. I have no medical experience but having done this myself, I can share with you what the experience was like for me. Not on a personal or spiritual level, but just what you can expect to happen to you, your body and your kidney. What follows are 2000 words giving you all the details. But before we get into that, let me just say that donating a kidney has to be the absolute easiest way to save someone’s life. I think if more people knew how shamelessly easy it is, the waiting list would be waiting for someone to be on it. Really. It’s THAT easy.

I don’t know where you are in the process…maybe you need a bit more info before making any kind of decision or maybe you’ve already had the blood test that determined you are a match to someone in need and you are wondering what comes next. What matters is that you are reading this, so you’ve already thought about trying to help. Which is a good thing, because although cadaver kidneys are good and have offered many suffering people years of good life quality, live donations have a better success rate. So someone may have a much better chance at an improved life because of you. (I certainly don’t mean to diminish the gift of cadaver kidneys in any way. I think giving away a part of your loved one at a time when you just really want them back is about the most generous and beautiful thing anyone could EVER do.)

So, okay, here’s what happened to me. ....

Please read the rest of Amy's story here. She goes into detail about how the experience affected her, and I don't want to edit Amy one jot.

Michael has entered the Fairview University Transplant Program, the same facility that has provided the FM with three life-saving transplants. Anyone wishing to give of themselves to help Michael can call 800-328-5465 to speak to the living donor coordinator. Later, I'll describe that process for readers as well. In the meantime, thank you for reading, and I hope you will offer your prayers and thoughts for Michael and Leah.


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