Chapter Three: Who are my role models?
Rick and Tracey Ridpath are a sweet, lovely couple who live in Hopewell, VA. Rick is a middle school teacher and Tracey is a kindergarten teacher. They have two beautiful daughters and raise chickens in their backyard. But what makes this couple really special is the fact that they each gave a kidney as altruistic donors.
An altruistic donor – also called a Good Samaritan or non-directed donor – is one who does not have a particular recipient in mind. This is a person who simply offers up a donor organ to the individual who needs it the most.
Rick and Tracey lost a dear friend to cancer and in the aftermath Tracey couldn’t help wishing that there was something she could have done to save him. But since she was powerless to help her friend, she decided to do the next best thing. She would save some else. In fact, she would save a total stranger.
With that goal in mind, Tracey searched online for information about organ transplants and was directed to Hume-Lee Transplant Center at VCU Health. Her plan was laid. Tracey would donate a kidney. Her generosity so inspired Rick that he decided to become a donor as well.
There have only been 2059 altruistic kidney donations since 1989 when the first one non-directed donation occurred. And Tracey and Rick may be the only married couple to donate kidneys to unknown recipients.
By interviewing Rick and Tracey and writing their story, I couldn’t help but be inspired. It was their act of unselfish kindness that planted the seed and prompted me to think about being a living donor too. But surely I was too old, right? Stay tuned and find out.
If you too have been thinking about being a living donor and would like to learn more, please feel free to contact me - firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s talk.