I was so touched by a news story where a woman donated a kidney to her friend, that I made the call to put myself on the living donor list. My donation was to be altruistic so everything was strictly confidential and I would not know the identity of the recipient. I told my very close family about the donation and they were all so supportive, even though their reactions were very different - ranging from 'you are nuts!' to 'how generous'.
I started a healthier way of life so as to be able to give my recipient as healthy a kidney as I could and for me to recuperate quickly. My recipient could be of any age, sex, race or religion. Over the period of a year, I had many visits to the hospital for consultations, different scans, x-rays and blood tests. This also gave me time to think and I could change my mind at any time.
With a week to go until the donation, the butterflies started. So I just kept very busy and positive. Once I got to the hospital I relaxed and got caught up in the 'excitement' as the transplant team spend so much time with their patients that they become friends. Today one of their friends will soon have a second chance of a healthier life.
A couple of days after the kidney donation all the tubes were removed and I could get up and walk about. On the third day I was well enough to go home. Before I left, my transplant co-coordinator who was a wonderful, helpful and supportive friend gave me a 'green ribbon' which is the ribbon for live organ donors. I asked her to deliver a get well card to the recipient who I was told was doing well.
In all the time that has passed, I have corresponded often with my recipient through the transplant team and every letter is a treasure. Every year I receive beautiful flowers from my recipient and by me dropping a pebble in the water the ripple effect of 'feel good' continues for me and my friends.
I continue with good health, if not better, as I continue to drink lots of water, and keep well. If just one person makes the decision I did, this story won't be a waste and the ripple effect will continue.