My brother-in-law, Tony Messenger, had been a diabetic since childhood and in 1997, his kidneys failed. My wife, Debbie said Tony had no matches in their family and that he would probably be on the transplant list for a long time, enduring dialysis all the while. She was visibly upset by the news. Having tested to be a donor but not being a match, she was frustrated by not being able to help her brother.
I sent my test kit into the transplant facility and soon found out I was a match. Who’d have thought!? Deb was so excited, but concerned that I would feel overly pressured to donate. We prayed and talked about it together which made the decision to do it easy. I donated my kidney for his transplant in 1998.
That was 18 years ago. Today, everyone is doing well and Tony has even become a grandfather. I have never regretted our decision or my donation. Donating a kidney is a wonderful thing to do for someone you know, or even someone you don’t. For me, it was a great thing to do for myself, too. I’m reminded every day how important it is to take good care of myself and to be thankful for my good health.
I enjoy sharing my story, especially when talking with teenagers because I can get their attention by playing up the gory parts of the surgery and recovery. Of course, I follow that up with the most important facts about donation and how having been a donor doesn’t limit what I’m able to do. I love to tell them about two 350 mile bike rides I did about 10 years ago. One kidney or two, the sky is still the limit.
Talking with adults is more challenging for me, but I get the opportunity to do that as well. I am always looking for ways to connect with everyone I talk to, regardless of their age. I hope that by attending the Transplant Games, I will be able to meet other living donors and transplant recipients, hear the ways they share their stories and leave with a renewed enthusiasm about inspiring others to share the ultimate gift of life.
Patrick Mossman – Living Kidney Donor, 1998
Team Texas, Transplant Games Participant 2016