Donate Life Texas

This story is a re-submission, if that’s allowed.

I gave my left kidney to my brother in law, Tony Messenger in 1998. Tony 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, she felt frustration at 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’da known? Deb was so excited and at the same time was concerned that I would feel pressure to do the transplant. We had already prayed about it and discussed it so the decision was easy. We would do it. That was 18 years ago and everyone is doing pretty well. I’ve been asked if I ever regretted giving up a kidney. The answer is definitely no, no regrets. Most of us can function on one, plus its incentive to take good care of myself. Donating a kidney is a wonderful thing to do for someone you know, or don’t know, as well a great thing to do for yourself. I enjoy sharing my story. When talking with teenagers, I talk about the creepy/gory aspects of the surgery and recovery. Playing that up gets their attention. Of course I follow that up with the “did it hurt?” stuff. It really didn’t. I tell them about hearing on Paul Harvey how a new procedure was developed to remove the kidney with a two inch incision. Yeah, I got that news about two weeks after my 12 inch incision procedure. What timing. I also talk about being able to do anything anyone else can do. I even get to do things others don’t want to do. Most people ask if donating a kidney has limited me in any way. I love to tell them about two 350 mile bike rides I did about 10 years ago. One kidney or two, the sky’s still the limit. It’s tougher info-taining adults than teenagers but I get opportunity to do that as well. I am always looking for ways to better connect with non-teens. I think there may be an inspiring story or two at the Transplant Games that will allow me to up my game when talking about organ donation. I’m sure I’ll leave the games with some new friends, some new stories and renewed enthusiasm about sharing the ultimate gift with others.

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