Archive for August, 2009

Rod Ellis of Holyoke, Colorado, probably wasn’t expecting some guy he went to high school with to offer a kidney, when his failed from polycystic kidney disease. But Clay Warren, who since graduating in 1978 had moved to Washington state, did just that.

When all the testing was done and Warren was approved as a donor, he sent Ellis a text.

“Hey, I was wondering if you would like to get together sometime? Maybe play golf or have lunch or better yet, how about surgery.”



Geraldine Jenkins didn’t think twice when she realised she could give a kidney to 19-year-old student Keith. …

It’s always harder on the person in the waiting room, as her husband, Martin, knows:

“I’m so proud of them. It was a long day at the hospital. She was wheeled out of the theatre and back to her bed and, apparently still under the effects of the anaesthetic with the mask on her face, she raised both thumbs and said ‘piece of cake, Martin’,” he said.

I think she was just happy.



“I feel that I’ve been very blessed in my life, with my family and my job, and I really wanted to pass those blessings onto other people,” said Sergeant [Nicole] Lanstrum, an intelligence analyst with the 612th Air Operations Center.

Sgt. Lanstrum donated a kidney to a former stranger in Arizona, whose friend then donated to a woman in San Francisco.

Thanks to the U.S. Air Force for giving the donor the needed time off.

Lt. Col. David Wallace, 612th AOC commander, also supported the decision, and helped get Sergeant Lanstrum the approvals necessary to donate.

“My initial reaction upon hearing that Master Sgt. Lanstrum was going to donate an organ to save the life of someone she didn’t know was ‘what a selfless act,’” Colonel Wallace said. “After meeting with her to sign the paperwork and chatting a bit more about the process, it became obvious to me that this decision was one she spent a long time contemplating. She did this purely because it was the right thing to do. She is certainly a role model for others to follow.”

Lanstrum, who’s now back at work, says, “This was by far the best experience in my life.” It is an amazing ride.



I have a soft spot for Owen Sound, Ontario, so I was glad to see a story about friends donating who play ball there.

Cheryl Scott and Sandy Barfoot have gone from being teammates and friends to kidney cousins. [Editor's note: You know I love the "kidney cousins" reference.]

The two longtime Owen Sound Leon’s ladies fastball teammates have taken earning the save to a whole new level with Barfoot saving Scott from years of dialysis by giving her a new kidney.

Years of dialysis and maybe her life. Kidney donation rates are even lower in Canada than in the States.

“It’s hard to actually accept that gift. It’s such a huge thing. You feel guilty about taking that and for her to go through what she has to go through. We were always close, but we’ve gotten closer. She’s just so selfless and at no point did she ever falter or have second thoughts.”

There really aren’t words. Just let her do it.

“It was Scotty, so there was never a second thought . . . it was just, can I help?” said Barfoot, a 45-year-old Wiarton resident who began playing fastball with Scott at age 10. They were teammates for close to 20 years.



A nicely written story from the Boston Globe begins thusly:

First, he asked his brothers.

Then he turned to extended family.

It was only after it became clear that no one in his family qualified to donate a kidney that Phil Saviano realized he might die.

And then he turned to the one larger community that he has embraced for nearly two decades: survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Across the country, thousands of men and women who years ago were molested by priests opened their inboxes to find an e-mailed plea to help a fellow survivor.

Seven of them offered up a kidney to keep Saviano alive.

And today, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, physicians will transplant a kidney from Susan Pavlak.

I hope the Globe will forgive the long excerpt. It’s just so good.

Hurray for Susan for donating her kidney. Hurray for Phil for asking for help. Yes, it’s a big deal, but in the end … it isn’t. It’s just what you do.



In Skegness, which is somewhere in the UK, Paula Miles donated a kidney to her sister Wendy Denny.

“We lost dad and then mum died, so she was the only person left. She is my sister and I had to do something or she would die.” …

[Paula's husband] Neil bought the duo kidney-shaped pendants from America to symbolise their bond and Paula said they never take them off.

Awww. Now I’m getting all sentimental. Well, good job, ladies.



Karen Stokes of Dayton needs a kidney transplant due to complications from type 1 diabetes. Her friend, John Tatman, was willing to donate a kidney to her. Unfortunately, he was not a compatible donor.

Meanwhile, 134 miles away in Lexington, Ky., Russell Hiler was ready to donate a kidney to his father, Paul Hiler, who also suffers from kidney failure due to type 1 diabetes complications. Russell also received the news that he was not a match and could not help his father.

You can guess the ending to this one: They’re going to trade kidney donors. Hurray for whoever started these paired databases to find matches. And hurray for the donors!

This story says Stokes hesitated to ask for help. Listen, if not for yourself, for the next person on the UNOS list, ask everyone you know if they might donate. You get a friend’s organ, and that deceased donor’s organ goes to someone else.



I hope Shari Perkins will forgive my pun, but I’m proud of my fellow Keystone Stater for donating a kidney to a stranger in Texas. Show ‘em what we’re made of, girl.

… The doctors told them that Perkins had the kidney of a 38-year-old. She is 45.

We do grow some healthy organs up here. I came out of anesthesia to a crew of doctors saying, “Beautiful kidney. Beautiful.” Whatever that means exactly.

Perkins was inspired by her father, Marlin Knaub, who helped the lives of at least six people as an organ donor when he died in 1996.

She wanted to help someone else by being a living donor. Through her gift to [retired police officer Mario] Lozano, Perkins has said she hopes to encourage others to do the same.



That’s pretty nice, isn’t it?

Along with the kidney, [Carla] Helton is giving up her softball league, which she only started playing again last year after taking a long hiatus. People with only one kidney are advised not to play rough contact sports, Helton said, and she sometimes gets run over playing softball.

Yeah, I told my dad his dreams of having a child playing in the NFL were over, but he was OK with that.

Helton says she was more nervous waiting to see if she was a match back then than waiting for the surgery to happen now. Odd, she knows.

Nah. The match is the uncertainty. Good luck, Carla and niece Natalie!



Henry Ray was a living donor in 1958, when it was not laparoscopic, honeys. Here’s a lovely story from TMJ4 (TMJ? Really?) about his bid to save his twin brother by donating a kidney and his visit to his surgeon, 50 years later. Hurray for Henry.