- The Gift of Life—Walking by Faith
Let’s donate some kidneys and ‘rock n’ roll’ (shaking my right hand in the air, waving the “I love you” sign in sign language).” That was one of the last things I remember saying to the physicians as I was being wheeled down the hall to the operating room to donate my left kidney to Jesse—my friend’s friend. March 19, 2008 changed my life forever and was one of the best days of my life. If I had ten kidneys and all the time off accrued in the world, I would donate nine of them.
It all started back when I was twelve years old. I had no clue that fourteen years later, I would [End Page E11] actually donate a kidney to someone. There was a girl at my church who was sick. I don’t remember exactly what she was sick with, but I remember she had something wrong with her kidneys. A family member informed me that a person has two kidneys and therefore can donate one and still live with only the remaining kidney. I remember thinking at that moment that I wanted to donate my kidney to her to save her life. Obviously, I was young and just thought the idea was great, but did not understand the medical background behind it at all.
The Merriam–Webster dictionary defines “fore-shadow” as: to represent, indicate, or typify beforehand. I see how the series of events in my life and my faith were a foreshadow that led up to my decision making process of donating my kidney. I lost a lot of loved people when I was young. My mother was widowed twice and lost her parents all by the time I was twenty years old. I understood death. I knew how fast someone’s life could be over and once they are gone, they are gone. Those examples and the story of that little girl got me thinking about becoming an organ donor.
Paul and I grew up together. We went to grade school together and church and youth group. He was a year younger than me in school and his sister (my best friend) was a year older than me in school. I have always felt that I would be friends with them forever no matter what the distance and twenty years later it still proves true. Paul and Jesse went to high school together. I met Jesse through Paul, but only because they hung out all the time and played on the same football team. I would see Jesse a couple times per year either at football games or at Paul’s birthday parties. One year in college, Paul came to visit me with some other friends and brought Jesse with him. That was really the last time I saw him. We were just mere acquaintances with a mutual friend. Little did I know that our paths would cross again in the future. And little did I know the next time our paths would cross, I would be saving his life.
I was home from work watching Oprah. I never watch the show because I’m usually working but for some reason, on this day, I watched it. I was enthralled by a kidney donation story that was on her show. When I saw how “normal” everyone looked, I thought, “I could donate too. Why not? I have two, you only need one and I can give my other one to someone else.” All the while in the back of my head, I remembered that little girl from church. I went to work the next day to see if anyone wanted to donate a kidney with me and they thought I was “nuts.” One person stated she wouldn’t donate to just anyone, but only if it was family member or someone she knew really well. She suggested I should do the same thing. I took her advice, but added a little twist of fate to it and I started to pray about it.
About two weeks later, to my surprise, Paul’s sister called me. “Have you heard about...