Archive for February, 2010

Joel Bakki wasn’t doing well. He needed a kidney transplant, and although his brother had flown in from their native India to be tested, he was rejected. The software company employee was, well, down.

“I was just sitting in my cube. I was depressed and I remember that [co-worker Dane Johnson] just walked in and he said I want to be your donor.”


“Just hearing him get better and better and have him tell me how he’s progressing is great and uplifting for me,” says Johnson.

The two played a lot of ping pong during think breaks at work, and now, Dane says, “he let’s me win once in a while.”

As siblings, Ron and Becky Taylor always have been close. Now, they share another special bond. On Jan. 14, family and friends gathered around the bedsides of the brother and sister just before they went into surgery together, as Becky donated a kidney to Ron. …

When he finally arrived home, Ron had messages from people he has never met, whom also have gone through transplant surgery, wishing him well.


In Birmingham, England, Charlotte Sutton decided to be a living kidney donor for her husband, Barry. Not such a common thing in the U.K. In fact, it only recently became permissible. Her enthusiasm is so touching:

“We can’t believe it’s done,” said Mrs Sutton. “I had never been to hospital, never even had a baby and I don’t remember the operation but I woke up shouting: ‘I’ve done it, I’ve done it!”

This part is interesting:

“Everyone kept saying to me ‘you are so brave’ but I work for a psychiatrist and he said to me: ‘You are brave enough to have this operation, but you are not brave enough to live without your husband ‘ and that’s when I realised he was right – I couldn’t manage life without Barry.”

That’s some love.

Cathy Robins has PKD. She wasn’t sure what would happen as it became clear that she needed a kidney transplant, but her husband, Jerry, had a plan.

“He said, ’I don’t know why they put me through all this testing. We knew we were a perfect match when we got married,’” Robins related.

For Jerry, the decision to donate a kidney was an easy one.

“I got two kidneys. I’ve only got one wife,” he explained.

Cathy, this guy’s a keeper.

Kidney swaps have so much potential. Everyone involved gives to a stranger, but in the end, someone the donors love gets a bouncing baby organ.

Speaking of bouncing babies, one of the recipients in a three-state, five-donor kidney transplant chain is 22-month-old Payton Dimick.

The adult kidney in Payton’s tiny frame is a “snug fit,” [surgeon Michael] Shapiro said. But “it turned pink right away,” as blood began to circulate through its vessels. And most importantly, “It’s peeing.”

Which is what 22-month-olds should do. Congrats to Payton and her parents, and everyone else involved in this donor chain.

On this Valentine’s Day most men will buy traditional gifts like flowers, balloons or chocolate for the special ladies in their lives. But in Baytown, [Texas,] James Forsyth is giving his wife the gift of life.

“It’s just something you have to do,” he said. “I gave her my heart 6 years ago, what would be better to give her back her life.”

Awwwww. Their kidney transplant is scheduled for March 16.

Three New York men – Dominick Dean, 24, Dennis Geiger, 28, and Anthony Ciambone, 42 – didn’t hesitate when their mothers needed kidney transplants. They became living donors. And talk about love – they spoke at a press conference on Valentine’s Day at their hospital.

They hope to get the word out about kidney disease as well as the gift of organ donation.

Dr. Molmenti said he wants the public to understand that people can live perfectly well with one healthy kidney, so parents should lose their fears about asking their children with a compatible organ to donate the gift of life.

Chalk up another one for! Cindi Love, whose name is apparently quite fitting, saw Tom Wirt’s listing on the site, which matches people who need kidneys with people who are willing to donate. A few little tests later, Cindi called.

“I want to give you my left kidney for Valentine’s Day,” Cindi said.

Now, normally Tom’s wife might have been annoyed with some woman calling his cell phone and offering him a Valentine’s Day gift, but Betty Wirt let it slide in this case.

“A lot of people want to donate to a younger person,” Betty said. “They hear Tom’s age and look for someone else.”

He’s 66. Cindi was unfazed:

No life is more valuable than another.”

In a second article that has a truly gorgeous photo of Cindi, she said:

I know he’s not really related to me, but I do believe we’re all brothers and sisters in this world.”

Amen, sister. Good luck tomorrow.

I truly believe that if more people knew the facts about living kidney donation, more total strangers would come forward and become donors. There are many good-hearted people in the world, and many people who would benefit.

Enter Jordana Bryan, who read about Charles “Chickie” Hoffman on and decided to be a living kidney donor so that Chickie could have a transplant.

“It was easy, and everyone should (donate),” Bryan said from her hospital room 24 hours after the transplant.

Chickie certainly appreciates her generosity.

“I am so lucky,” Hoffman said of Bryan’s donation. “I have my life back now.”

Amy Maliborski happened to check her church bulletin online while she was away and read about Annie Laib’s need for a kidney. Her reaction?

“I could do that. … I was just really at peace with it,” she said. “I thought, when else in your life do you have the opportunity to make such a big difference?”

So true. And so Amy decided to become a living kidney donor for a stranger. After surgery, they met and discovered that their moms were former co-workers. Which is interesting and all, but the main thing is that the surgery went really well.

“Your kidney is so energetic,” Annie told Amy. “I haven’t felt this good in years.”

But as is usually the case, family members were apprehensive about Amy’s decision to donate. Her husband didn’t want her to do it but said he couldn’t say no in the face of her brave spirit. Her mom, Mary Lou Blount, was also not so happy.

“I was very concerned for her,” Blount said. “I knew she had to go through all this fear and courage at the same time, which I think is a very difficult thing to do.”

(It’s such a different experience when you are the person taking the risk than when you are the family member or friend. My friends had a really hard time, and frankly, I told my family afterward because I didn’t want them to worry. The risks of being a living kidney donor are relatively low, but of course any surgery is a risk.)

Annie’s life with PKD, which also affected her twin before her twin’s kidney transplant from a cousin, has turned around.

“It’s gone,” Annie said with a smile. “It’s too wonderful for words. She saved my life.”