Happy Kidney Day

May 3 is a day to remember as this was the day, years ago, when I donated a kidney to my “little” sister. Actually, she’s older than I am, but about half my size. She is a triplet, but her sisters don’t look a thing like her — they’re all fraternal.

She was the sister who always tormented me, drove me nuts, jumped out at me behind closed doors (and enjoyed my startled reaction.) She was the one who did something bad and arranged for Mom and Dad to blame me for whatever transgression. She was the one who chased my friends around on the front lawn to embarrass them. She would play that loud “Rock and Roll” music in the car while I would sit humming with my fingers in my ears.

She was also the one who got sick. So sick that we thought we were going to lose her. So sick that all of us lined up and got tested, and I was the lucky winner to be informed that we had the closest match when it came to the kidney she needed since hers had shut down. Truly, I believe I am the lucky one. It was weird that her triplet sisters were not as close a match as I was. Fa bene, sic volvere parcas.

She’s living well now, enjoying life, having fun. Best of all, she’s my best friend.

Be an organ donor. Sign up with your state motor vehicle office so “organ donor” appears on your driver’s license, but most of all, discuss your intent with those who will be asked at a time of crisis. It’s sad but true: even if you have signed a donor card and indicated your intent to donate organs upon death, your loved-ones who make decisions for you at a hospital will still need to give permission. Make sure they know your intent, so your organs can save as many lives as possible — and enable people to live longer, more productive, and happier lives with the beneficence of your gift.

Happy Kidney Day!

1 thought on “Happy Kidney Day

  1. Over half of the 99,000 Americans on the national transplant waiting list will die before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate about 20,000 transplantable organs every year. Over 6,000 of our neighbors suffer and die needlessly every year as a result.

    There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage — give organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

    Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren’t willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

    Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at http://www.lifesharers.org or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition.

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