I braved torrential rains, flooded freeways, stupid drivers and yes, flat hair with the frizzies to visit a good friend in the hospital this morning. It was a celebration.
She wasn’t in an accident. She hasn’t been sick. She didn’t give birth to another son.
She gave away a kidney. To a total stranger. No, I’m not kidding.
It was a 14-month ordeal that she took on faith. Faith in the call God has had on her life. Faith that her kidney would go to the exact person who needed it. And it was a risk she was willing to take. For a stranger…
Several months ago, Deb had an aunt who was going downhill fast. She asked if there was anything she could do – and her cousin said, “Do you have an extra liver?” It got her to thinking. “No, but I do have an extra kidney.” Another family member was in renal failure at the time. She started looking into if she were an acceptable donor. In the process of dozens of tests, diets, complications and hiccups, the one whom she started the journey with in mind received a kidney from another donor. When asked if she wanted to be taken off the list, she thoughtfully declined.
“Someone out there still needs a kidney.”
Finally, news came that the recipient would be a young man about the age of her son. But then that fell through. The kidney would go to someone older than she. When she and her husband talked about this, they accepted it saying, “A life is a life.”
And so, with the support of her husband, boys, parents, siblings and friends, she had the surgery on Tuesday. It went off without a hitch for both of them.
So, what does Deb have through this experience besides a hole in her back? Better health because of the changes she had to make to her diet. A closer relationship with her husband, who’s been by her side the entire journey. The respect of her children and extended family and friends. But more than this, she owns the knowledge, honor and inner satisfaction that she sacrificed herself for someone else. Her kidney gave another person a second chance at life.
And I have to think that her husband is so supportive because he understands this in his core being. For he has been sacrificing himself for total strangers, too – as an officer.