David George - Why I gave my kidney.

' I thought, I wonder if this is something I could do?'

In April of 2017 I came across an article on the news site Vox titled "Why I gave my kidney to a stranger - and why you should consider doing it, too" by Dylan Matthews. Prior to that, I had never heard of a Good Samaritan donation or creating a chain of donors. I found over the next couple of weeks that I kept going back to the article, forwarding it to friends and talking about it. I was amazed at not only how large a problem the need for kidneys is, but how easily it could be solved. I thought about how my mother had passed from cancer in her early fifties, and what it would have meant to our family if there was something we could have done to increase her life by 10,15, 20 years. How she would have seen my sisters and I get married, what an amazing Grandmother she would have been, how my parents would have enjoyed the retirement that they had worked so hard to achieve.... So, as I continued to go back, I thought, “I wonder if this is something I could do?”

As I sit here eight weeks later, I am absolutely certain that I just went through the most rewarding experience of my life. 

Over the next couple of months, I spoke with folks at WaitlistZero (mentioned in the article) and was referred to New York Presbyterian’s Weill Cornell transplant center.  I went through an exhaustive health exam (all at no cost to me), spoke with family members and my children and told them what I was thinking about. The reactions ranged from "That’s amazing!" to "You’re nuts!", but all I could think about was " How could I not do this, knowing what I know now – really, how could I not do this?"

On December 13, 2017, I had the surgery. There were eight recipients in the chain, and as I sit here eight weeks later I am completely recovered, back to work, back to the gym and absolutely certain that I just went through the most rewarding experience of my life. 

I have had a great life but like most people it’s been filled with good and bad. All in all, though, on my worst day my life is blessed. I have had people who are very close to me and people whom I never knew help me through those rough times without asking anything in return. My hope in sharing this with you is that someone will read my story and be inspired to help another person in a similar way. Whether it’s by donating time, money or an organ, we all have such a great ability to help those around us, we just need to take the time and effort to do it.

Here’s the link to that Vox article: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/4/11/12716978/kidney-donation-dylan-matthews

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