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.
My name is Fred Ewashko. I’m 69. I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I donated my kidney to my brother Steve Ewashko, 71, at the University of Alberta Hospital. The transplant took place on August 6, 1977. We just celebrated our 39th anniversary of me saving my brother’s life.
I have 3 children: Peter, Brandy-Jo and Jesse, and one grandson, Kaleb. I have lived a great and full life with my wife Judy and children and grandson. I will be celebrating my 70th birthday on September 14. I have enjoyed a full life with one kidney and brother Steve has a full life as well with his wife Jean.
At the ripe age of 47, I decided to donate my kidney to Andi Ribera. Our journey started as a simple Facebook message from her sister: “I just saw your post on back to life. My baby sister Andi Ribera is in need of a kidney transplant. She is 18 and has her whole life ahead of her. She has been sick for about 2 years. Please write me back if you’re still interested in donating.” That was in 2013! After a few bumps in the road, I was able to donate at Tulane Medical Center in May of 2015.
Andi and I are close and remain in touch. Post-transplant I enjoy yoga, eating right and attending outdoor rock festivals. Andi has started her first job and will be attending college. She is an inspiration to me!
I donated my kidney to my mother on April 15th, 2013, at the age of 25. It’s old news now, but the story and experience never changes my passion for encouraging others for organ donation. So I use every opportunity I can to talk about my/our journey of donation, in hopes that maybe (just maybe) someone will consider being a donor, whether it be organs or blood, living or cadaver. I’m not talking anyone into donating. It is a very personal issue, and people should make it based on the facts of their life.
But I can say, with a doubt, that it’s the best feeling in the world and I bet there can’t be a superior feeling of satisfaction and pride, than discovering the power within you to give a new life to someone, by donating a part of you. And seeing that hearty smile on my mother’s face who is fit and healthy now is like the cherry on top.
In August 2013 I decided to donate (anonymously) a kidney to anyone who needed it more than I did. Although in my early 60s I considered myself in good enough health to undertake this procedure. After about 6 months of tests this was confirmed, and the process of finding the most suitable recipient was started. After almost exactly a year the transplant took place, the whole process being documented in a blog – kidneydonor2014.wordpress.com.
After a few weeks of recuperation I was back at work, and life was completely back to normal for me within a month or two. I have always been a keen outdoors person and since the operation I have successfully completed several multi-day walks, such as the 4-day Heaphy Track Great Walk in New Zealand.
Most recently I walked, in 30 days total, El Camino de Santiago, the 880 km pilgrimage from the French Pyrenees across Spain to Santiago de Compostela and on to the coast at Finisterre. Life with one kidney certainly does rock!