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My Organ Donation Journey - Chapter 12

How far would you go?

In November 2006, after I finished the 8k, I dashed home so I could watch the Richmond Marathon as the runners headed down Forest Hill Avenue. It was late in the race. The elite runners had long since crossed the finish line and I was mesmerized by the individuals out there on the course.

They were not 24 years old, whip thin and 6’2” tall. In fact, they were older, shorter and heavier than I ever would have envisioned, and in some cases, physically challenged. (I would never refer to these fine athletes as physically disabled.)

I was surprised and delighted to realize that mortal humans—people just like me—could actually run a marathon. 

I made the decision, then and there, that in 2007 I would run the full marathon—all 26.2 miles of it. (I also decided my husband would run it with me, but that is another story for another day.) 

It didn’t matter that I had never run farther than 10 miles. That I’m only 5’2” with my shoes on. Or that I was 54-years-old at the time. Somehow I figured my determination would overcome age, inexperience and even my short legs. 

And I did it. In fact, 10 times.

My marathon experience is a perfect metaphor for my organ donation journey.

Last year I interviewed and wrote stories about organ transplant patients and donors at VCU Health Hume-Lee Transplant Center. Through that experience I discovered something very special. Everyday people are doing amazing things. They are saving lives.

Once again I felt inspired to act. But how far would I go to save one life? What would it take? What would I have to give up?

I did my homework and here is what I learned. My hospital stay will be two days. I plan on taking two weeks off work and perhaps working at home a little longer. The only limitations I have are no running or lifting for six weeks.

The screening process was not easy. The recovery will probably be a little harder than I think. I hate missing work and I really will hate missing running.

But I am willing do all this and more. For this chance to save one life, I am willing to go the distance and become a living kidney donor.

How about you? Does the opportunity to save one life inspire you, too? If so, talk to me. I’ll be with you every step of your journey. 


This chapter is dedicated to the Sportsbacker’s Marathon Training Team and all my wonderful coaches and team members who help me go the 26.2 mile distance!!

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