Getting what you want is not nearly as important as giving what you have.
- Tom Krause
Upon such sacrifices the gods themselves throw incense.
- William Shakespeare
A couple of days ago, I wrote about spending the day in a surgical waiting room while Erin’s brother-in-law recieved a kidney transplant. Well, I’m here to tell you, as the picture above will attest, that all’s well. Three days out, and both donor and recipient are doing better than anyone could have reasonably expected.
Prior to Monday, I knew precious little about transplants. Having experienced first-hand the tremendous impact that such a selfless sacrifice can have, I’m in awe- of the process, of the technology, of the impact a healthy organ can make. More than anything, though, I’m in awe of my friend Liz, who not only offered to donate a kidney, but followed through on that offer without concern or hesitation. When someone asks me how I define “heroic”, from now all I’ll need to do is tell them about Liz, who did what she didn’t have to in order to ensure that a friend would live. If that isn’t heroic, I can’t imagine what would be.
Burke’s fine- back to his usual smart-ass self. His new kidney is functioning at a near-normal level, and while he still has a long way to go, it appears the worst is behind him. The recovery process is long and the attendant caution extreme, but it appears he’ll be able to lead a normal life. Before long, he’ll be far more concerned about getting his daughters to their soccer games than his health…and that’s a wonderful thing.
Burke’s health issues began long before I met him, so I’ve never had the opportunity to know him when he’s been healthy. I’m looking forward to that. My heart goes out to his wife, Amy, and their three beautiful children. I can’t help but thinking about how wonderful it will be for them to have a healthy husband and father in their lives.
Liz provided what can only be described as the best Christmas imaginable. She went home yesterday, and while it’ll be a couple weeks before she’s back to wrestling gators, she’s doing well. She’s inspired me more than I have words to describe. I hope that writing about her sacrifice might serve to spread that inspiration far and wide. The beautiful thing is that many of us can do exactly what she did- donate a kidney. If you think you might want to make a difference, perhaps even save a life, check out The Alliance for Paired Donation. There you can begin investigating the possibilities. I didn’t know that 88,000 Americans are currently waiting for a kidney donation, nor did I realize that 12 Americans die every day while waiting for a compatible kidney. The need is great, but the supply is distressingly insufficient.
My hope is that at least a few people reading this will realize the impact that one person can make. Donating a kidney is not a small sacrifice, nor should it be undertaken lightly. That said, most of us can make a difference and perhaps save a life. Perhaps I might even be able to do it myself…and I’ll have Liz to thank for the inspiration. She’s truly my hero, and I suspect I’m not the only one who feels that way.
(If you’re so inclined, you can leave a message of support for Burke (and perhaps even leave a donation) here. In addition to the need for moral support, the financial burdens on Burke and his family are significant. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.)