Making the Most of a Donation: Coming to Acceptance

I was a little disappointed this month to learn that the chain my kidney began is not resuming in July as had originally been planned.

As you may recall, four transplants resulted from my donation.   Each kidney recipient had a donor who didn’t match them but their donor “paid it forward” to a different recipient who also had such a donor, and so on.  Apparently, there is no match at this time for the person willing to donate on behalf of the fourth recipient.  Often a match looks good until the final testing days before the scheduled surgery.  There may or may not be a match for this donor in the future.

My disappointment is very human and understandable, I suppose.  Who wouldn’t want one’s donation chain to keep going and going?  But why do I want this?  Again I see mixed motives in myself.  I want as many people as possible to be helped, of course.  But I also enjoy bragging rights.  The bigger “my” chain, the better for me too, right?

Well, I’m trying (and it takes conscious effort) to put this all in perspective.  To base my reality less on my feelings and more on real things:

The chain is a group endeavor of the National Kidney Registry, all the donors and recipients, and all the people of the health care profession involved in it.  It isn’t just “my” chain.

The important thing about kidney chains is not how long any particular chain ends up being, but that kidney exchanges are happening, and happening more and more.

These chains work.  They allow persons who qualify as donors to help their loved ones even when they do not match.  Chains allow recipients with such willing donors to reduce their waiting time from several years, which they might not have, to a matter of months.

Kidney chains allow folks like me, who are willing to donate to anyone, to make the most of our donation, whatever that might be.

I remind myself that I’ve always felt my donation would be worthwhile if it helped just one person.  In fact, it would be worthwhile even if the transplant were not successful, because I still would be doing what I was called to do.  As is often said, God doesn’t call us to be successful but faithful.

If you are considering being a non-directed living kidney donor, I encourage you to check out the National Kidney Registry.  You can begin the process of donation by following the steps right on their website, as I did.

Last week NKR completed their 500th transplant, more than all other kidney exchange programs combined!  And as an article in ScienceNews suggests, the larger the pool for coordinated transplant efforts, the better.  NKR is the largest.

I believe this registry can make the most of your kidney donation, whatever that might be.  They did for me.


About Ray Mueller

Husband, father, Christian, pro-life, kidney donor, video producer & editor
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