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.
I donated my left kidney in June of 2013. How it happened: I saw a post on my friend’s Facebook page about her sick brother-in-law. This friend was actually a friend of my sister’s from high school many years before. We had not seen each other in well over 10 years. Nevertheless, I felt like my heartstrings were being pulled, so I prayed. Then I sent my friend a message about her brother-in-law. Basically I asked how I could be tested. I ended up getting in touch with his donation coordinator at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. She sent a kit, and I was to have blood run and my urine collected. But I knew I was going to match, I just knew…and I was scared. So I let the kit sit on my counter…and it sat…and a couple of weeks later, I prayed again. I stopped putting it off, went and did the blood work and collected my urine for 24 hours. As I knew they would be, the results were positive for further testing. At this point I had befriended my possible recipient and his wife on Facebook. They knew that I was testing further, and that I would donate. I spoke with Tricia, Dennis’ wife, on the phone after getting the ‘you’re a match’ call. She cried. I cried.
Two weeks before the surgery, I was getting very nervous. I cried with my mom on the way to dinner one night. I was visiting from 1 1/2 hours away, and Dennis lived in the same town as my family. I told my mom that of God wanted me to donate, he was going to have to let me know in a big way. I wiped my tears and we went in the restaurant. God showed up! Not even 10 minutes after we sat down, Dennis, Tricia, and their children walked in! We had never met, but I recognized them from Facebook. I went over to their table and introduced myself. We took a picture together and told each other that we would see each other at the Mayo soon! From that point on, I was excited, nervous too, but mostly excited. That was in 2013. He and his family are very dear to me. We will always be connected, and I feel honored to have been able to help another human in such a humbling way.
My name’s Cori Vance and I’m 23 years old. I donated my kidney to my stepmom on November 4, 2015. Our surgery took place at UnityPoint Methodist Hospital in Des Moines. My stepmom was suffering from polycystic kidney disease, which eventually led to her being added to the transplant list and starting dialysis.
I secretly got in contact with the transplant coordinator who was amazing. Once finding out I was a match I didn’t hesitate! The date was picked and set!
After surgery seeing my mom walk laps around me and her REAL smile, I’ll never forget that moment. Today she’s doing awesome and she’s a whole new person. The way I see it is my parents gave me the gift of life and I, in return had the privilege of giving my mom a different ending to her life story!
For me, I now work on the Kidney Transplant floor alongside the staff that helped me along the way to recovery. So to this day I’m honored to help educate, take care of and share my experience with others, while rocking my 1 kidney!!
Five years ago, my family was dealt some terrible news: My uncle needed a kidney transplant. Always being the type of person that put others first, he refused to let any of us donate. Never being the type to listen, I went through the testing anyway.
Anyone that knows him knows that the world is a better place with a healthy Charles Welch. The man who gave everything to others would finally be repaid for the good he has done. Little did I know how this would help me too. Being a living donor saved my life! !t gave me time to reflect and completely changed how I viewed the world.
Five years later, we’re both healthier than we were then. He has a thriving business. I went back to college and graduated, married the most beautiful woman in the world, and got the job of my dreams. None of this would’ve been possible had it not been for that life-saving surgery. Being a living donor gave me a connection that few ever know. One of the most amazing men I know became more of a mentor. It’s safe to say we saved each other!
– Brian Welch
My name is Tracy Bye and I am 54 years old. I donated my kidney to a former student who I have known since he was in kindergarten. Our surgery was on September 1, 2016. Henry is 29 and married and has a young son.
It has been 9 months since surgery and both of us are doing awesome! Henry’s creatinine has stayed at 1.4 and he is feeling more healthy than he ever has. I have felt no different and feel the same as before my donation.
We did our surgery in Denver, CO at the University of Colorado Health/Science Hospital on the Anschutz campus. Their staff and support team on both of our sides has been and is amazing.
It is a beautiful experience to go through with much gratitude on every level. Reading the stories on this site before I donated gave me the positivity of it all and now I can honestly say, that 9 months AFTER surgery the positivity has only grown. Giving the gift of life is unbelievable and living it still makes me cry with gratitude.
My name is Joann and I am 59 years old and I donated my kidney to my son on Feb.15, 2017. Our surgery took place at St. Joseph’s in Hamilton, Ontario by Dr. Anil Kapoor. The surgery was a success!!!! My son’s dialysis machine was moved out of the house and he got his life back!!!!!
My son just celebrated his 27th birthday and what a celebration with lots of family it was!!! I am back to working many hours as a server in two busy restaurants, and also exercise at the gym daily. I feel so blessed that I was a match to help my son. Every day is a gift and I thank God every day for blessing us. P.S. I don’t feel any different with one kidney…if I had an extra one, I would do it again…no problem.
Jeff, my kidney recipient, is a client of mine as I am his barber. During an appointment, Jeff started sharing his illness with me. I slowly began thinking more and more about donation. I would find myself reading story after story on the Internet about kidney donation. I had fears…read as much as I could. Asked as many questions as I could. And finally, I told Jeff that I would go through the testing process. I received a phone call from the transplant coordinator at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio saying that we were a perfect match. February 8, 2010 was our day.
Seven years out, both of us are doing very well. As for myself…I’ve never looked back. I’m very proud of what I’ve done but mostly it’s just feels so good to give someone an opportunity at life!
My name is Kari. I donated a kidney to my younger brother on August 26, 2015. Our surgery took place at Carolinas Medical Center here where we live in Charlotte, N.C. My brother had kidney problems his whole life and we knew eventually he would need a transplant. In April of 2014 we found out he was in double kidney failure. I consider him one of my best friends so I didn’t hesitate to volunteer to be a donor for him. It’s amazing the process that you go through to be considered to donate. I learned all the risks and still didn’t even think twice about wanting to donate.
The whole process was hands down the best experience I’ve been through! So many people have praised me for what I did for my brother. But I honestly didn’t do it for the recognition, I did it because he was my brother and I would do anything to save his life! Seeing just how well he’s doing is amazing. He’s like a whole new person. As for me, I’m doing great!! Feeling better than ever and rocking my 1 kidney!
My name is Laurie. I am 50 years of age. I donated a kidney at Tampa General Hospital in May of 2016 to Larry, an old high school friend of my husband. They lost touch for 45 years and Larry friend requested my husband on Facebook, and they met up. I met Larry and found out he needed a kidney. I am an organ donor on my driver’s license and I always have wondered, “What will they use from me to help someone in need?”
I thought long and hard about it. I am a “snow bird,” so did my research to see how it would change my life, and learned I would be just fine. So when we returned to Florida in the fall of 2015, I asked Larry if I could be tested. He was sure surprised – a feather would have knocked him over!
So I must say surgery went well. Larry is doing great and I’m rocking 1 kidney by walking an average of 12 miles a week. I enjoy cooking and the many blessings of family and friends. I would like to find out how I can join a donor group. We all have that rocking 1 kidney in common to raise awareness.