March is National Kidney Month. What exactly does that mean? That we should all take a moment to Wikipedia “kidney” and find out what it does besides filter stuff? That we stop what we’re doing and give the organ a round of applause? These are both options, sure. I actually have another option for you: think about giving one of yours away.
Sounds extreme, right? Especially if you couch it under the cold, impersonal phrase, “organ donation.” But here’s the thing—it’s not extreme. It’s easy to recover from, easy to live with, and you can give someone else a fuller, longer life. Take it from me. I did it two years ago.
Before I talk about that, I want to mention how gratifying it is to work for LMD, a company dedicated to creating positive change and always encouraging employees to share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences. Experiencing such a compassionate workplace culture is what inspired me to share this thumbnail version of my story.
I have a 26-year-old niece whose diabetes-related health conditions started taking a toll on her kidneys. A lifetime of dialysis looked inevitable. My sister (her mom) asked me if I would consider getting tested to be a donor. I loved the idea of being able to help and, lo and behold, I was a preliminary match.
My niece and I went through a week of medical tests. After that, the runway was cleared for the procedure. It took about four hours total to take out my kidney and give it to my niece. We were both on our feet later that day. I left the hospital after three days; my niece left after a week. I spent another week at home, taking it easy before going back to work. My niece took a bit more time to regain her strength.
One of the doctors on the transplant team said that for the donor, life after surgery is so uneventful that in a few months, they’ll forget they had the procedure. I found this hard to believe at the time, but you know what? It’s true. Beyond a faded five-inch scar on the left side of my waistline and a smaller one under my rib cage, life is exactly how it was. The only difference is my niece is healthier, happier, and not on dialysis.
Check out the National Kidney Foundation to learn more about what it takes to be a donor. I promise, it’s easier than you think.
As a nerdy child of the 1980s, one of my favorite movies was The Last Starfighter. There’s a line in there that when your big chance comes in life, you’ve got to grab it with both hands and hold on tight. According to the nonprofit Donate Life America, more than 90,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for a kidney donation, and they have a three to five-year wait for a deceased donor. A living donor can cut that wait down to a year or less.
That’s where you come in. Think about grabbing the chance to donate a kidney with both hands and holding on tight.
An award-winning communicator in science/technology/engineering, healthcare, and higher education, Jason supports LMD’s work with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) with his two decades of technical writing expertise. Jason is particularly skilled at writing for television and radio, creating engaging and informative scripts.