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.
My name is Dora Cruz and I donated a kidney to my brother Daniel Cruz 3 years ago because of love and I’m doing great. I would like to inspire people to do it to save someone’s life, even if it’s not family. Believe in God for he will be with us thank you. I want to thank the hospital and Dr. and nurses all the personnel – thank you.
My story starts when I went to give blood in high school and found out that I had high blood pressure. They ran several test and they all led to my kidneys. My oldest brother, Rick Gilham (pictured top left) gave me new life by donating me his kidney back on September 7, 1982 at UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Ala.
Since the transplant I am sorry to say that I lost my brother 5 years ago to lung cancer, and would like to honor him by publicly sharing this story.
The kidney has been rocking now for 34 years and I plan on it rocking until I go and meet my brother again in Heaven. God has truly blessed me, but it all started with a selfless act of kindness from my brother. I am Randy Gilham (in the bottom right of the photo).
Thanks brother, I love and miss you every day but am honored to have part of you with me. God Bless.