A friend of mine from Wisconsin is in Charleston, SC, this afternoon, beginning the process of recovering from surgery. This morning, she donated her left kidney to an as yet unidentified recipient, the first link in what is known as a chain donation, where by meeting one recipient’s need, an incompatible but willing donor for that recipient may instead donate to a compatible recipient, whose would-be donor can help someone else, and so on.
Cathy first became interested in the process when a child at the elementary school where she works was placed on a waiting list for a transplant. As it turned out, she was a match, but a more compatible donor was available. Still, she figured that if she had been willing to donate to someone she knew, she could just as well donate to someone she didn’t, and so she got involved in a months-long series of physical and psychological tests to see if she could participate in one of these donation chains. As it happens, she could, and today at the Medical U of South Carolina… well, I already explained that part. She’ll recover for a few days near the hospital before returning to Kentucky to stay with family, and then back home to the Frozen Tundra.
Cathy hasn’t said much about why she decided to do this (although she’s fond of mentioning a special donors-only tote bag). But those of us who know her have an inkling. Madeleine L’Engle once said that it is the nature of love to create; I would add that it is also in the nature of love to give and to sustain Creation, and Cathy’s action is appropriate to the level of love she shows for life, and for the people with whom she shares it, whether she has met them or not.
I know that there’s at least one person somewhere who is amazingly grateful for what Cathy did today. Perhaps we should all be grateful that there are people who are willing to take that step, even with the incentive of a tote bag.
I hope you feel up to snuff soon, Cathy — but you should already, and always, feel good.
For further information on living-donor donations, click here.