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Why I Chose to Donate a Kidney

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I’m not sure how to feel.

Chances are by time anyone reads this I’ll be at the hospital: Either preparing for surgery, already in the process of being dissected, or hopefully on my road to recovery. For those who don’t know, about six months ago I began the process of being considered as a living kidney donor for my friend Kevin.

Obviously, I was a match.

So here I am finding myself in the scary yet amazing position of making someone’s quality of life better. It started off as a passing thought after I saw Kevin not looking 100% this summer but I shrugged it off. But after he wrote a touching article about his five-year struggles with dialysis, it turned into a surprising query by me about what the donor testing process entails. Even after the initial blood and antibody match a few months back it was all still theoretical. It didn’t become real until it was.

I’m not sure how to feel.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a little bit scared but I try not to think about the pain and potential dangers. Positive energy produces positive results in my book, so that’s what’s centered me. Ever since the surgery date was set a few weeks ago I’ve been more focused on recovery—for both Kevin and myself—than any possible problems. I can’t wait to get back in the gym, eating right and drinking tons of water. And I want to see Kevin do the same. I want to see him be there for his daughter, grow old with his wife, and do something simple like going to sleep without having to be hooked up to a dialysis machine every night like he’s a cellphone.

I’m not sure how to feel.

But anytime someone’s asked me, my response has been: “It’s surreal.” I never imagined that I’d be doing something like this or that this would ever be a choice that I’d have to make. But once my donor team told me that going through with this wouldn’t shorten my life expectancy and precious time with my daughter—as long as I maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle—I was in.

At the end of the day, making sure that this wouldn’t limit my time with my wife and daughter was all that mattered. Of course there are risks and dozens of possible complications but I’m confident in the medical team and my own will to be there for my daughter. In the rare and unlikely instance that something does go wrong I just want my wife and daughter to know that I love them. I would want my daughter to know that there are good people in this world and that her father is one of them. I’d just pray that neither of them would hold any grudges against me for making this decision.

I’m not sure how to feel.

It’s not everyday that someone puts another person’s needs before their own, but this act shouldn’t make me a “hero.” I always feel awkward when someone uses that word to describe me when they hear what I am doing, but you shouldn’t get extra credit for being a good person. I didn’t do this for any praise or glory but because it’s the right thing to do. There was no big existential thought behind this decision other than that. As long as I have my family’s support on this I’m good. If more of us gave selflessly to others without wanting anything else in return maybe the world would be a better place but I understand that this is an extreme gesture of kindness.

And some people might not know how to feel about that.


1 Comment Add a Comment?


Eman Safadi

Posted on April 21, 2018, 3:10 p.m.

You gave a life back to someone. A selfless gift. Respect

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