Adventures of a Kidney Donor

May 3, 2010

A Short History of Kidney Transplantation

  • Next Wednesday I go to U of M for my first big battery of tests! I will have labs, a chest x ray, an EKG and a Cat Scan of my kidneys.

Chad the transplant coordinator sounded very nice on the phone. He told me some very interesting things. I asked if the recipients and donors meet or if people preferred anonymity. (I am fine with whatever my recipient wants.) He said that often people like to meet but they arrange that AFTER the surgery. Makes sense to me because of the emotional impact for those involved.

I had it in my head that all four of us get surgery the same day but Chad told me sometimes the way things line up they may find a donor for Jackie earlier than my recipient is found.  Jackie could have her surgery first then when my recipient is located I would have mine later. It can get complicated matching the blood types and the antibodies.

I am anxious to get the ball rolling!

A Short History of Kidney Transplantation

  • 1954  Doctors at Boston’s Peter Bent Brigham Hospital perform the first successful long-term transplant of a kidney between identical twin brothers.
  • 1962  First kidney transplant using cadaveric donor at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston.
  • 1980s Survival rates improve with the use of cyclosporine.
  • 1984 National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) establishes a nationwide computer registry for organ donation and prohibits buying or selling of organs.
  • 2001 The first paired exchange kidney transplant in the U.S. is performed at Johns Hopkins.
  • 2009 Johns Hopkins Hospital successfully completes the first eight-way, multihospital, domino kidney transplant.
  • The future Chains of altruistic kidney donations are increasing as computers and kidney exchange programs help match donors and recipients more quickly.

Some famous people who had (or have) kidney disease:

  • George Lopez
  • Steven Cojocaru
  • Neil Simon
  • Barry White
  • Jean Harlow
  • James Michener
  • Erma Bombeck

P.S.  My friend Jeff told me this interesting story.  Back in 1965 his future father-in-law Robert needed a kidney and Robert’s sister LaVern was the donor. When they did the surgery they found out Lavern had three kidneys!

Go to List of Resources on Kidney Donation


  1. I love all the facts you give about transplants! I didn’t know about the information Chad gave you, it’s very interesting. Your blog inspires me. I’m so happy you’re writing about your experience as a donor. I hope all your tests go well in Ann Arbor…I’m sure they will.

    Comment by Jackie — May 3, 2010 @ 11:23 pm |Reply

  2. Anne – you are a great friend and an amazing person. I love Jackie so thank you! Is this a picture of you?

    Comment by Robyn cline — May 4, 2010 @ 6:01 pm |Reply

    • No it’s a woman who donated a kidney to her fiancee–found it on the web. I thought it was sweet.

      Comment by anne315 — May 4, 2010 @ 9:52 pm |Reply

  3. Anne, you ARE a hero – just as Jackie is. You girls have always been different sides of the same coin – very strong individuals, but with a middle that enhances that strength to a level only possible with both of your minds and hearts.

    You have both agreed on this part of your journey together, and in the process, you’ve both elected to write so you can share your experiences and feelings with others. I know for a fact that your joint blogging efforts have already touched at least one family, and there are probably many more that we’ll never know about.

    Jackie, my love, I have no doubt that you will continue to work on this. You’ll turn it over and examine it, and put it back, and take it out again, until you make progress. That’s so you. Please don’t be too hard on yourself, though. What you’re feeling is normal and the process will take awhile. Keep writing, and keep being honest about your feelings, as only you can be. I love that about you!

    You are both such extraordinary women!

    Comment by Susan Robertson via jacqsworld blog

    Comment by jacqsworld — May 5, 2010 @ 11:28 am |Reply

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