Adventures of a Kidney Donor

August 11, 2014

Three Years in the One Kidney Club

Filed under: Kidney Donation — by anne315 @ 8:33 pm
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kidneycakepops12Happy 3rd anniversary to the recipient and me!  August 12 marks three years since the kidney I used to have went to someone else out there.  I celebrated with my good friend Jackie and her husband Doug and my godson Justin. They took me out for dim sum and Jackie even made me a cake!

I always think of the recipient on this day and hope he is having a great dialysis free life and doing the things he has always wanted to do. Maybe he has a party or just enjoys another day dialysis free.

So many lives are touched by kidney disease and donation. I have several kidney heroes in my life. My dear friend Jackie of course. Three people who work with me:  Kiersten received a kidney from her friend Theresa, Larissa gave a kidney to her father, and Jon’s daughter Bridget received a kidney from her mom Amy.

I hear from people all over the world who have donated a kidney or are waiting for a kidney. I am grateful if this blog helps them in a small way. For those waiting, never give up hope!

What can you do for those waiting? My best anniversary present would be that everyone reading this sign up to be an organ donor if they haven’t done so already. Make sure your family and friends are registered. You CAN make a difference!

Join the Michigan Registry or Join the Registry in your state.

Go to List of Resources on Kidney Donation

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January 24, 2014

Help a Kidney Donor

Filed under: Support — by anne315 @ 8:14 pm
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k and tAwhile ago, I told the story of Kiersten and Theresa. Kiersten is my good friend and co-worker. Her best friend Theresa gave her a kidney in 2003. Theresa gave at that time and now it is time to give back to her if we can.

Theresa’s only child, her son AJ, has just passed away after a brave battle with Cystic Fibrosis. He was only 23 years old. She could use a little help with his funeral expenses.

Kiersten has set up a page if you would like to donate.

We kidney people stick together!

Go to List of Resources on Kidney Donation


September 23, 2013

Sometimes Kidney Donors Need a Little Help

Filed under: Organ Donation Heroes,Support — by anne315 @ 6:14 pm
Tags: ,
rodney and carl

Rodney and Carl

Many times kidney donors need financial support. Even when your medical expenses are paid, you may not get adequate sick time compensation from your job, may need help with travel and lodging etc. There outta be a law…I need to lobby for that someday…

I was fortunate when I did my donation because my place of employment was very supportive and let me use my sick days (I had hundreds of hours) which covered the weeks I was out with regular pay.

I just saw this story today about a donor who needs help.  You can donate here: The Carl Shull Donor Fund This is the story from Rhonda Alonzo:

...Many members of our family have been struck by polycystic kidney disease. We have watched our mother and her siblings battle this disease for years resulting in kidney transplants for our mother and uncle while two of our aunts lost their battles due to the side effects of this horrible disease.

My brother, Randy started dialysis a couple of months ago and my other brother, Rodney just started dialysis last week.

Many people who need transplants of organs cannot get them because of a shortage of donations. Every month, more than 2,000 new names are added to the national waiting list for organ transplants, and about 18 people die every day while waiting for an organ transplant in the U.S. Organ donation helps others by giving them a second chance at life. A living donation takes place when a living person donates an organ or part of an organ to someone in need of a transplant.

Rodney has a very generous friend named Carl Shull who has agreed to donate one of his kidneys to him. Carl has gone through the testing and is confirmed to be a match. The surgeon’s from the University of Michigan have scheduled the removal of Carl’s kidney and the transplant to my brother to take place on October 18, 2013 but we need you help!

Carl is married and has two children to support. Although his medical expenses are being taken care of as a living donor, he will only be receiving $300.00 a week from his employer during his 8 week recovery from surgery and that is just not enough for him to pay his household expenses. In an effort to show our appreciation, we are trying to assist his family by raising funds to pay his mortgage, utilities, car payment and insurance and health insurance premiums while Carl recovers for the 8 weeks. Unfortunately, any donation you make is not tax deductible since it will be helping pay the donor’s expenses but any funds remaining after paying those expenses will be donated to the National Kidney Foundation under both Carl and Rodney’s names.

Please consider helping us thank Carl and his family for his selfless act by making a donation. If you prefer, you could also make checks payable to The Carl Shull Donor Fund and mail them to me, Rhonda Alonzo, 35110 Savannah Lane, Farmington Hills, Michigan 48331.

Thank you in advance for your support!!!  –Rhonda

The Carl Shull Donor Fund

Go to List of Resources on Kidney Donation

August 12, 2013

Happy 2nd Anniversary!

Filed under: Kidney Donation — by anne315 @ 11:16 am
Tags: ,

2-cakeHappy 2nd anniversary to the recipient and me. Today marks two years since the kidney I used to have went to someone else out there. I don’t say “my” kidney anymore, I say “the” kidney since it is now his. I am glad it is his too!  Hope he is having a great dialysis free life and doing things he always wanted to do.

So many lives are touched by kidney disease and donation. I have several kidney heroes in my life. My dear friend Jackie of course. Three people who work with me:  Kiersten received a kidney from her friend Theresa, Larissa gave a kidney to her father, and Jon’s daughter Bridget received a kidney from her mom Amy.

I hear from people all over the world who have donated a kidney or are waiting for a kidney. I am grateful if this blog helps them in a small way. For those waiting, never give up hope!

What can you do for those waiting? My best anniversary present would be that everyone reading this sign up to be an organ donor if they haven’t done so already. Make sure your family and friends are registered. You CAN make a difference!

Join the Michigan Registry or Join the Registry in your state.

Go to List of Resources on Kidney Donation

January 25, 2013

Happy 10th Anniversary Kiersten!!!

Filed under: Kidney Heroes — by anne315 @ 11:50 am
Tags: ,

kiki annivRecently my friend and co-worker Kiersten celebrated the TENTH anniversary of receiving her kidney from her friend Theresa. Our friend and co-worker Mark thought of this cute cake to mark the occasion.

Kiersten and Theresa are doing great.  I have always admired Kiersten because she never really complained about her polycystic kidney disease when she had every right to.  She just got on with the business of doing what she had to do. She used to do dialysis at work! She seldom misses work then and now which is remarkable.

I of course admire Theresa for her donation, she is another one of my heroes! Theresa couldn’t have her kidney removed by laparoscopy, she had the open surgery which takes longer to recover from. Theresa said she never thought twice about donating a kidney to her best friend. “She helped me learn about unconditional love,” Theresa said of Kiersten.

Theresa and Kiersten’s only disagreement? Kiersten roots for Michigan State University and Theresa for University of Michigan. I am a Spartan too but we all have to admit, U of M is great at kidney surgery!k and t

You can read Kiersten and Theresa’s story.

Go to List of Resources on Kidney Donation

August 11, 2012

Happy Anniversary to Both of Us!

Filed under: Kidney Donation — by anne315 @ 9:40 pm
Tags: ,

Happy anniversary to the recipient and me. Sunday August 12 marks one year since the kidney I used to have went to someone else out there. I don’t say “my” kidney anymore, I say “the” kidney since it is now his. I am glad it is his too! See  The Kidney, My Kidney. Hope he is having some delicious cake or celebrating a year free of dialysis in some way. I want to blow Weight Watchers points out of the water and devour cake myself. I think of him often, that unknown someone out there. I picture a more active and free life for him. Very cool.

Kidney Cake Pops

My colleague Mari pointed out this article about altruistic/non-directed donors.  “U.S. Woman’s Altruism Starts Chain of Five Kidney Swaps, Extending Lives.” It’s great news that this type of donation is on the rise. We still have a long way to go, but each year seems to be getting better.  From the article:

Donor Honica Brittman decided to be part of a kidney swap after learning she could not donate to a family friend because of incompatibility, represents what experts say is a critical and growing number of “altruistic” or “non-directed” donors, people willing to donate to anyone in need as long as their blood type, antigens and other factors are compatible.

While there is no conclusive national data on the number of donors like Brittman, experts estimate they have increased to between 100 and 200 a year, up from just dozens a few years ago. “After every chain that gets some publicity, there’s a flood of potential donors contacting kidney exchange networks and individual transplant centers,” Alvin Roth, an economics professor at the Harvard Business School said.

The year has gone by quickly! All of my medical checks are coming back normal. Aside from the small scars, I can’t even tell I had surgery.  So happy anniversary to us and here’s to all of the donors and recipients out there! Back to the cake. I have cake on the brain because of stupid bloody Weight Watchers and their Nazi Points Plus system.  Hmmm… not so sure about the kidney cake pops…

Go to List of Resources on Kidney Donation

July 18, 2011

Happy Anniversary Jackie!

Filed under: Kidney Heroes — by anne315 @ 7:45 pm
Tags: , , ,

Happy Anniversary to my dear friend and kidney hero Jackie! One year ago this Thursday she got her kidney. She has been an inspiring model of courage, humor and strength. Not only did she have a kidney put IN, she had a kidney taken OUT all in the same year!  That’s one transplant and one nephrectomy in less than 12 months. Not fun. She received her new kidney in July of 2010 and in April of 2011 she had to have one of her old ones removed because it was causing trouble.

Usually kidney recipients have THREE kidneys (the old ones usually atrophy and are harmless) but once in awhile the old kidneys still cause trouble. Jackie was one of the few “lucky” recipients to have to endure removal of one of her older kidneys. I am SO PROUD of her because she took it in stride and is doing everything she can to keep her new kidney and get on with her new life. She didn’t whine (I would have!) or mope, just got on with what she had to do.

The good news is that her new kidney is chugging away and doing its thing and working very well throughout all of this. My dear friend is free of dialysis. We are celebrating this week with dinner! Asking Jackie to choose a restaurant is like pulling teeth but HA – it’s HER anniversary so she HAS to choose. When I have my anniversary next year I will choose.

Read about Jackie’s adventure here.

My adventure looks like it will be in a few weeks! One more test to make sure the recipient and I are a good match. I have been thinking about him/her and I bet they are counting down their dialysis days. I am so glad for this person! I am starting to freak out a little in the middle of the night –oh my god, they are going to take my kidney out!– but I think that is normal.  

After yapping about it for a year and a half it will be good to FINALLY deliver. People were starting to think I had made the whole thing up.

Go to Resources on Kidney Donation

May 8, 2011

I’ve Got Two, So What the Hell? You Can Have One

I just love this quote.  It was made by April Capone, the mayor of East Haven, Conn. She gave one of her kidneys to Carlos Sanchez, a resident of her city. The two connected on Facebook. I saw this story on the news the other day before I left for work. I am always seeing these stories on my way out of the door and they make me cry so I get messy but that’s a nice way to make your mascara run. This is what really set me crying because it’s what this kidney donation stuff is all about:

A year later, Sanchez’s health has been restored.Capone said of Sanchez, “Carlos wasn’t my brother, but he is now.”Sanchez calls Capone his “angel.”He told CBS News, “Because of her, I’m able to see my son graduate this year.”

WOW…seeing his son graduate. I sure hope I can help someone like this one day.

There is some controversy about organ sharing on social networking sites. As with everything on the Internet, there is good and bad. I am not a professional of course, but in my opinion it can be a great way to connect when standard organ donation lists are taking too long. Then again, be careful. ALWAYS involve a hospital as soon as you can. I do not think organ donors should ever be paid. I hate to think of the poor languishing while wealthier people get organs.

Go to List of Resources on Kidney Donation

October 9, 2010

What’s With These Crazy Kidney Donors?

A lot of people think I am crazy to give up a kidney, especially to a stranger. They can almost see if it was going to a relative or friend, but a stranger? No way. I am occasionally getting backhanded comments from friends and acquaintances who don’t think this is a good idea.  This inexplicably hurts my feelings and I want to say: NOT HELPFUL PEOPLE.

It’s interesting to read what donors have to say about their motivation and reactions from others.

From Why I Chose to Give Up My Kidney to a Total Stranger.” Europe Intelligence Wire 16 July 2010. General OneFile. Web. 9 Oct. 2010. **:

“It was a complete lightbulb moment…It was my own little way of making a difference to somebody…I haven’t the knees to be a marathon runner or the money to be altruistic, but this was something I could do.”

From a really nice article by Virginia Postrel Here’s Looking at You, Kidney. She  gave a kidney to a friend:

… there was something reassuring about the idea that the benefit wouldn’t depend at all on my talents, persuasiveness, or intellect. It would be simple. All I had to do was show up. In middle age, I’ve realized that I can’t save the world. But maybe I could save Sally. Someone had to.

People Magazine featured kidney donation chain heroes on November 30 2009. (See picture at top.) When donor Matt’s family was worried he said:

“I want to do something the kids can look at and remember me by… I want to leave a legacy.”

Matt’s donation set off what has become the nation’s first and longest-running open-ended kidney-transplant chain.

The Kidney Chronicles is a great blog by Tom Simon, a kidney donor. He encountered a lot of the same objections I hear from people and he has a nice way of answering them.

Remind your friends and family of the following things:

– The donation of a kidney is laparoscopic surgery, meaning small incision and quicker recovery…

– There is no scientific evidence in 50 years of living kidney donations that there are any ill effects to living with one kidney…

– When kidney disease occurs, it nearly always strikes both kidneys at the same time. It’s  not like one kidney fails and you find yourself knocking on wood, thankful that you’ve got a spare…

Lots of good testimonials here:

 Go to List of Resources on Kidney Donation

 ** Requires a Michigan driver’s license or check with your local library.

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