When I decided to donate my kidney to a stranger, I was uncomfortable talking about it.
When I was recovering from donating my kidney to a stranger, I was uncomfortable talking about it.
When I was healed up and functioning normally after donating my kidney to a stranger, I was was uncomfortable talking about it.
Notice a theme there?
In fall of 2017 I went to an event that is hosted by the UW Transplant Center and is held every other year. This event celebrates all the living donors from the past two years. It was a wonderful event, and it was incredibly clear how much all of us donors as a whole were uncomfortable with the attention.
At one point when the presentation was starting they asked all the non-directed (altruistic) donors to stand up. There were maybe ten of us in a room of a few hundred people. The applause and meaningful stares from people in the room was overwhelming, and in looking at my fellow non-directed donors, we were all crawling out of our skin.
Shortly thereafter the keynote speaker took the stage. Her talk started a little something like this.
“16 years ago I donated my kidney to my best friend’s husband. I haven’t talked about it publicly for 15 years. That has been the biggest mistake of my life.”
She went on to talk about how important it is for us as donors to openly tell our story, educate people about organ donation, and learn to accept people’s praise about our actions.
I let her words wash over me. Those words landed squarely in my heart, and I knew that I had to be more courageous in talking about it.
That moment has evolved into so many beautiful interactions with people. In just the past seven days, four different people have reached out to me about donating their own kidneys! 4 people in just one week!! If I wasn’t stepping up to share my experiences with organ donation, who knows who they would be talking to… if anyone.
This makes me think back to when I met my recipient last month. I kept saying to myself ‘It’s not about me, it’s about the message.’ That’s become my mantra lately.
This afternoon I spent 30 minutes on the phone with a wonderful woman who lives in Denver. She’s already gone through the testing process and is on the fence about going through with the donation.
I could easily empathize with her. When I was medically cleared to donate I became ravenous for content. I wanted to watch interviews, read blogs, scour Instagram – I was searching for content about people’s personal journey with kidney donation.
And you want to know what I found? Almost nothing. It was like the living donor celebration. Nobody really wanted to talk about it.
It was in those moments one year ago that I decided that I would start to post about my donation on my blog. THANK YOU for the people who have already found me through my blogging and have reached out to me about it. THANK YOU for all the people that have discovered my journey through searching the #kidneydonor hashtag on Instagram. Keep reaching out. Comments, DMs, messenger – I’m happy to connect with you. These interactions with potential donors has been the most meaningful ‘work’ I have ever done.
Here are a few resources for those of you who have read this far and are on your own journey to potentially donate your kidney. (And if that’s you, you are a brave, amazing, beautiful soul and the world needs more people like YOU!)
Instagram is great to search hashtags and find people who have donated. #kidneydonor #livingdonor #giftoflife #donatelife and #kidney are all great ones to search.
The woman I spoke to today said this podcast is what made her decide to go get tested. I haven’t listened to this yet, but I am going to tonight!
I love this podcast SO much. This is a 3 part series about a woman from Wisconsin (yay Wisco!!) who donated to a stranger. It’s VERY insightful, and brutally honest.
The host donated his kidney to his brother. I actually reached out to him through email and he responded within just a day! Great guy.
I couldn’t be happier with my transplant center, the staff, the process, everything. They’ve got an informative website to help get you the information you need. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them. 100% awesomeness is what you’ll get.
Vlogs – I wasn’t super impressed with any that I found. So there’s a need for this! If you’re starting on this journey and you’re one of the brave souls that is willing to put it out there, please do. Vlogging is huge these days and you could have a TON of impact there.
Facebook page – Go Save a Life
Dwight Randolph and Christian Christian are awesome and are doing a fantastic job of raising awareness. I did an interview with Dwight last weekend – he did a great job as an interviewer, and we’ve gotten lots of good feedback about the interview!
I hope these resources help those of you who are looking for information about donation. Feel free to comment below, or go to the ‘Contact’ part of my website and message me there. Looking forward to hearing from you!