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My Organ Donation Journey - Chapter 15

It’s not about me

WOW! I can hardly believe the time is almost here. In one day I’ll be in the hospital to donate my spare part. I passed all the required health screens. My recipient has been identified. And I am ready physically and mentally.

Yesterday was the last run with my training team before surgery. It was a beautiful, cool day for a 10 miler. Bob and I had a lovely dinner last night with Gus, Mary Susan and Geep—our family-by-choice. And today I am finishing up a batch of work projects so my calendar will be clear for the next few weeks.

I’ve learned a lot from this experience so far—about organ transplants and about myself. And I have enjoyed sharing my story along the way.

During recent weeks, a number of people have responded when they learned I was donating a kidney by saying, “I’m proud of you.” It’s very sweet and I know they mean it in the kindest way. But the biggest take-away for me has not been a feeling of pride, but rather one of humility.

I am not important. My needs are not what matter. When it comes to the pecking order, the organ recipients come first. Their loved ones come second. And, as a donor, I am a distant third. And that is as it should be.

This is not a message conveyed by the staff at Hume-Lee Transplant Center. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Each member of the team has been incredibly kind, warm and considerate every step of the way. 

But when I consider the magnitude of what the recipients are dealing with now—and the challenges they have faced for many years— donating suddenly seems like a walk in the park. 

I am going into surgery from a position of health and I’m happy to be able to donate. The recipients on the other hand have long-standing, complex health issues plus they carry the emotional burden of dealing with a life-threatening disease.

There are more than 100,000 kidney patients out there just waiting for a second chance at life. And I am deeply humbled and gratified by the opportunity to help one of them. 

If you have a kidney to spare and you are grateful for your good health, you might consider being a living organ donor, too.  It may just give you a new perspective on life.

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