Archive for February, 2011

Nathalie Ouellette and Marc Lacroix had been tellers at the same bank for years. Each was married, and the woman in each couple needed a kidney transplant. Husbands’ kidneys didn’t match their own wives’, but then Marc and Nathalie got to talking. What if Nathalie’s husband was a kidney transplant match for Marc’s wife and vice versa? And they turned out to be right.

“It’s rather unique that they aren’t related and figured it out for themselves,” said Michel Paquet, Ms. Laflamme’s kidney specialist and the Quebec representative on the advisory committee of the national kidney-transplant registry. “Statistically speaking, the odds of it working are highly improbable. But it worked for them. If you set out to find your own donor like that, it would never work.”

Three donors and three recipients comprised the kidney transplant donor chain that included Ronnie and Ruth White. Ronnie donated one of his kidneys to a stranger so that Ruth could have a kidney transplant from another stranger. Ronnie remains amazed.

“We still can’t get our heads around the fact this was possible.”

They had hassles with getting through all the tests, as is common, but in the end, the transplants took place in early 2010.

“As far as I know we were the first people in Northern Ireland to take part in this procedure, and some of the first in the UK. It’s absolutely incredible. I went into theatre at 9am and Ruth got her new kidney at about 3pm the very same day.”

Ronnie never looked back when he didn’t match Ruth, once he heard about the kidney transplant donor chain option.

“As soon as I heard that I thought that if I could help I wanted to go ahead. I may not have known the person who was going to get my kidney, but ultimately Ruth would benefit and as far as I was concerned I had two kidneys and only needed one of them, so it was a pretty straightforward decision. …

“I was sore for a couple of weeks but I helped to save lives and it has made such a difference to Ruth. We’re very pleased with how it all went.”

After Tucson gun victim Christina Taylor-Green’s parents decided to donate her organs, it drew attention to the topic of kidney donation.

The Green Valley News profiled two kidney transplants. The first was a husband-wife kidney donation between Shelly and Danny Freeman. When Danny needed a kidney transplant after exposure to toxic chemicals, Shelly volunteered. Three years later, she’d do it all again.

“I feel great with just one kidney, too,” Shelly said. “I was tired following the initial surgery, but now it’s just back to normal.”

Doctor’s say Danny’s new kidney is functioning very well.

The second kidney transplant featured in the article went to Bobb Vann, an artist whose work hangs in the Pentagon and other prominent locations.

When it became known that Bobb needed a kidney transplant, 20 people offered to be tested. The best match was Roberta “Birdie” Stabel, who donated her kidney to Bobb in 2004.

“I really wish people would know what a great gift it is to donate an organ,” Vann said. “I still hear about people, some right here in the area, that were on dialysis for years and are still waiting for a kidney donation.”

Kidney donation is a great gift to everyone involved. The surgery to the donor is laparoscopic. Donors are in the hospital a couple of days at most, back to work in two weeks. But that’s just the physical.

As a donor, you will always have the memory of being involved in a profound and joyful human experience. Oh, and someone’s life gets saved, too.

Consider being a living kidney donor.

I can’t say it better than this writer does:

Claire Husted, from Palm Springs, Calif. was turning 50 years old. Claire is an ex-nun and was a volunteer in West Africa for 3.5 years, and has spent a lifetime helping other people. She wanted to celebrate the whole year from the moment of her 49th birthday to her 50th. As part of that celebration, she wanted to give thanks for the many blessings in her life.

Claire decided to help 12 strangers in celebration of her 50th year of life. At that time, she had no idea what she would do or how she would meet the people that she would help. She decided that one way she would help was she wanted to become a living organ donor. She never had any children herself, but wanted to give life to someone- so she decided a great way to do that would be to donate a kidney to a stranger.

Claire checked out and found Peggy Bender, a kindred spirit.

“What she is too humble to tell you is that she is a truly selfless inspiration to all who meet her. She is a source of comfort to those in need, a source of light to those struggling, and a source of unconditional love to her family and friends. She offers a rare acceptance of others, despite their flaws, that inspires me to be a better person. While her health is deteriorating, her heart grows as she continues to give of herself with a positive outlook and great enthusiasm,” wrote Peggy’s daughter Kim.

Their surgery will be’s 138th. Congrats to all.

Kim Hill, a former singer with Black Eyed Peas, recently donated one of her kidneys to her older brother Brian.

Her living kidney donor journey began with testing to donate to her father, but he became too ill for the surgery. Then Brian needed her help and she knew it was meant to be.

“I realized that it was a spiritual lesson for me. I was never meant to do the surgery for my father. I was only meant to offer him my kidney,” she says.

Brian had been on dialysis, keeping his busy life as a pastor going as best he could. He’d turned down offers from both of his sisters, Kim and Teretha, to donate a kidney, but after their father passed away, it was time.

“It’s difficult to ask someone for something that God gave them and is not supposed to come back out,” Brian explains. “So, yes, it took a little time to just settle with it.”

Kim was delighted that he agreed, and their kidney transplant surgery was this week.

“All my life I’ve wanted to do this for my brother,” Kim says. Then she became a mom and understood the depth of love a mother has for her child. “I’m doing this not just because he’s my brother, but because he’s my mother’s son.”