Donor Stories

How Tracey Is Rocking 1 Kidney

Distance runner Tracey Hulick donated a kidney to a stranger and started a donor chain that saved four lives! Then she ran a 50-mile ultramarathon and found she was faster with one kidney than two! Now she’s founded a nonprofit called Kidney Donor Athletes to inspire others to donate. Rock on!

How Dan Is Rocking 1 Kidney

Bryon and Dan celebrated 30 years of friendship with a successful kidney transplant!
Bryon and Dan celebrated 30 years of friendship with a successful kidney transplant!

My story started as an innocent conversation over lunch with one of my best friends and work colleagues over the past 30 years. He told me he was in stage four renal failure, and the following week he was going to the University of Minnesota and would be placed on a waiting list for a kidney.

I went home, did a bit of research about stage four renal failure, the University of Minnesota’s transplant center and found out that Bryon was one sneeze away from dialysis.

I took an online survey from the University of Minnesota in November of 2017 and to make a long story short, became a living kidney donor to Bryon on May 17, 2018.

My life has been blessed in so many ways prior to and post donation. I was and continue to be a healthy 59 year old. I still enjoy CrossFit, hiking and all of the activities I did prior to my donation.

In October of 2018 I had the great privilege of sharing my story on The TEDx stage in Omaha, Nebraska.

– Dan Howell

To watch Dan’s funny and uplifting TEDx talk, please visit:

How Bobby Is Rocking 1 Kidney

Bobby rocking 1 kidney at the top of a mountain over 14,000 feet high!
Bobby rocking 1 kidney at the top of a mountain over 14,000 feet high!

Hi :) I’m Bobby and I live in Seattle. Three years ago I had a bike crash, had a plate put in to reconstruct my wrist – some donor bone was needed to make that happen. Super grateful to get my full mobility back, I wrote to the donor family, and our exchange got me thinking, “What can I do to help others more?”

Enter my friend who told me her story of receiving a kidney, what life was like before and after, and so I contacted the University of Washington to begin the process to donate my kidney to a stranger, which I did January 2, 2019.

Was this a good decision? I can answer that by saying it was one of THE best decisions of my life and has transformed my life in ways unimaginable. The friends I’ve gained, the experiences I’ve had, and the feeling of helping someone in need are all massive contributors to what has now become a most incredible life I’m blessed to live. It’s time now to donate my voice in hopes of finding more donors! I’ve not missed a beat and recently bagged my first 14er!

 – Bobby McLaughlin

How Susan Is Rocking 1 Kidney

I donated my left kidney to a stranger on September 24, 2018. Here is my blog if you are interested.

How Randy Is Rocking 1 Kidney

At age 82, Randy has been rocking 1 kidney for nearly 30 years after donating "Leftie" to his sister!
At age 82, Randy has been rocking 1 kidney for nearly 30 years after donating “Leftie” to his sister!

It is hard to believe, but come July 25th this year, my sister and I will

celebrate the 30th anniversary of my direct donation of my kidney to

her. “Old school” best describes my good bye to “Leftie”–an incision

from belly button to backbone, removal of the bottom rib–all put back

together with 64 staples, with ouchies when they came out. About

7 p.m. the night before surgery, we started a series of four or five IV bags

of 3 percent alcohol solution. Result: warm, fuzzy, woozy, tipsy–maybe

drunk lite–it’s not nice to do this to a teetotaler, but it flushed out

Leftie the way it was designed to do.


With great thanks to morphine, there was no pain post-op and because

I was in great physical shape from running and pumping iron, recovery

was a yummy piece of cake. Actually there was no unusual discomfort

until two weeks after when I tried to get back into running. That was a

big no! no! no! Incision hurt like h___ and kept saying, ” I told you

not to do this,” so I had to wait ‘til about 4 weeks to get back to some

serious running.


After about 3 months, I was back to my normal 8-10 miles, 10 minutes

per, 3 times a week.  For the past 5 years, by design, I limit my distance

to 3-5 miles on a treadmill. My knees are still good and the hips are

great, but both shoulders are bone on bone, which limits upper body

workouts. I could run further and faster, but at my age, why? Sit-ups are

my new addiction: 1 set of 200 at each workout–yep 200–and working

on 300. For 39 years I have been doing serious workouts and only

rarely am I cognizant that I have only one kidney. I cannot recall any

adverse effects from donating other than numbness around the scar.


Did I mention I just turned 82?


Lest I forget, let me pay tribute to my wife of near 60 years, plus other

spouses, partners, significant others for their part in this incredible

journey down donor road.


– Randy McMillon

How Mike Is Rocking 1 Kidney

Mike donated a kidney to his brother-in-law last month!
Mike donated a kidney to his brother-in-law last month!

This year has been an unforgettable journey. My brother-in-law was in serious need of a kidney. I was asked if I wanted to see if I would be an eligible donor. I was a direct match. Surgery date scheduled for December 4, 2018, at UCLA. Transplant was a success. His body accepted the kidney instantly.

He’s doing very well. My recovery has been rough. I’ve never experienced the amount of pain I’m in. I wouldn’t change any of this. I’m called a hero over and over. I’m not a hero. I’m a man who saw another man in need of help.

I’ve changed both of our lives for the better and that’s what means everything to me. The pain will pass in time. I overcame the obstacles and now he’s got a whole new outlook on life.

How Patty Is Rocking 1 Kidney

yogaMy name is Patty and I donated my kidney in November 2017 to stranger. My sister donated her kidney 15 years ago to our stepdad and I never considered donating myself. In 2016, I saw a woman give a 5-minute talk about how a stranger saved her brother’s life by giving him her kidney and I thought “That’s a thing?!?!” I knew then I was going to donate. I started working on the process the next day and, three days before my surgery, I had a Santa-themed going away party for my kidney.

My life has only gotten better since donating my kidney. I was quickly back to my exercise routine of yoga and hiking and I feel stronger than ever! I’ve made amazing new friends and have found it so meaningful to give talks, volunteer, and raise awareness about the issue of live kidney donation. I’m now part of a community of people that all have something very unique in common. I have never regretted the decision to donate and my life is infinitely better because of it. You can see my 5-minute talk about it on YouTube.


Patty's kidney had a going away party!
Patty’s kidney had a going away party!

How Shannon Is Rocking 1 Kidney

I donated a kidney to my aunt December 2, 2009. I was living in Southern California at the time where I was born and raised. Three weeks after the donation I moved to Durango. I was 36 at the time of surgery. There is nothing I can’t do that I did before the surgery. My mom lost a kidney as a child and lives a healthy happy life so I was not reluctant to donate for one second.

How Marion Is Rocking 1 Kidney

My grandson has a condition where the over production of Creatine reduced his kidney function to 5% at the age of 20. He was on dialysis 3 nights a week and had to drop out of university.

I am 64 and matched with him at first, then an emergency transfusion changed that. Long story short, I donated a kidney to another person, whose partner’s kidney was suitable for my grandson. We are 6 days into recovery and both doing remarkably well!

Onward and upward.

– Marion Moth