Donor Stories

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

How Annie Is Rocking 1 Kidney

Annie donated a kidney to her dad!
Annie donated a kidney to her dad!

Bottom line – I love my dad. For a few years, it was just the two of us (and a box of mac & cheese). When I found out that he had kidney disease and would possibly need a transplant, my first thought was when, where, and how do I get tested. Being the oldest of five, I knew it was my responsibility to step up and step in to help save my dad. There was nothing I wanted more than for my much younger siblings to have the same amount of time with our dad that I had. I mean, who else would enforce the strict curfew that I had to suffer through!?!?

Three years ago today, at the age of 25, I donated my “plump” left kidney to my dad and I would do it all over if I could. Being a fourth-grade teacher with summers off, I knew the best way possible to spend my break was saving my dad’s life. I currently “rock 1 kidney” by living the best life I can, teaching the fourth graders that I love!!

– Annie DeToro

How Dorothy Is Rocking 1 Kidney

Dorothy rocks one kidney after donating to her cousin!
Dorothy rocks one kidney after donating to her cousin!

I donated a kidney to my cousin, Jeff, at UCLA on March 31, 2016. I was a healthy 64 year-old woman living in Maine with my retired husband and golden retriever. Our children were grown and scattered. My cousin had been on dialysis for 6 months and his quality of life was unacceptable. There was no one else in the family who hadn’t had cancer so I stepped up and offered a kidney.

It was the easiest operation I could have contemplated. I was sightseeing on Santa Monica pier 4 days after the operation. I was walking the dog three miles a day within a week. I was walking 18 holes and playing golf 6 weeks later but feeling like I could have done it earlier. I cross country ski in the winter.

99% of the time I don’t even remember that I have only one kidney. I feel great and recommend that healthy people consider giving a kidney. My cousin is extremely appreciative and thanks me often. I wish I had offered earlier.

– Dorothy Jones

How Ali Is Rocking 1 Kidney

Ali and Sonia talk about the successful kidney transplant on British television!
Ali and Sonia talk about the successful kidney transplant on British television!

Ali Golian donated a kidney to a colleague, Sonia, who he hadn’t seen in five years! Now he rocks one kidney by trying to spread the word about living kidney donation, even appearing on TV in the United Kingdom! He shared with Rock 1 Kidney:

It’s great to see her progress and now she’s living a normal life with my old kidney! I’ve now got a healthier lifestyle and see life in a different way.

Since donating I’ve learned that we have the power to change everything in our lives. We have the power to change our mindset in order to change our lives. I’ve learned that we can NOT blame others for the way we feel and receive things. Everything is in our own hands. If we accept this we won’t suffer anymore.

How Colleen Is Rocking 1 Kidney

Colleen rocking 1 kidney when her daughter was just a few days old!
Colleen rocking 1 kidney when her daughter was just a few days old!

This is me, rocking 1 kidney with my days old daughter. When I decided to donate to my sister, fertility was one thing no one really knew much about. Baby was happily carried to term (well a little past term, actually) and everyone remained healthy throughout with no kidney complications.