In January of 2015, I donated my left kidney to a friend who was facing dialysis at thirty years old. My story is a complicated one, but then so are most all of the kidney donation stories I’ve heard to date. It’s never an easy decision, it’s never an easy process, and it sometimes doesn’t go the way you plan. But there are thousands of people who choose to go through this process, many of them for complete strangers and people they’ll never meet. And the truth is, we need thousands more to sign up. We talk a lot about epidemic diseases, but we don’t talk much about kidney disease and renal failure. It’s time to change that.
To get the conversation started, I will post stories from either a kidney donor, recipient, or a caretaker that tells of their experience going through the donation and/or transplant process. Some of the stories are inspiring. Some of them are terrifying. Most of them fall in the middle. But all of them need to be heard. A link to the stories is below. Real names are used with permission, and I will notate any place where a name is changed for confidentiality.
Donating a kidney, I’ve learned, doesn’t end when they stitch you back up and you run out of oxycodone. It’s a lifelong journey that needs many companions for both the donors and the recipients. You can join us on that journey by reading these stories, hearing the voices of people who’ve sacrificed so much, and remembering that when all seems lost, there is always something we can do–even if that something is as simple as reading a blog post.
Do you have a story you’d like to share with us? Fill out the form below and let’s talk!