Thursday, January 26, 2012

Save a life...celebrating 5 years today!

Save a life...celebrating 5 years today!

napa & co.

Five years today...I was a kidney donor to my friend Seth Berger.

I've never been one to stand on a soap box about this topic because I always felt it was a personal and private decision. However, I am so excited to celebrate five years that I wanted to take a moment to celebrate the gift of giving. It was such a rewarding process that perhaps someone else might be inspired to do the same.

It hit me this morning as I was driving my daughter to school what an awesome feeling it was to give someone life. It was so empowering. She asked me to recall the event as she saw the reminder come up on my phone "Happy Anniversary!" She was 5 years old at the time and I explained I gave both my girls a bath that night and spent some time explaining that mom was going into the hospital in the morning but I was not sick. I was going to help a friend that was terribly ill and had two young boys just like my little girls. I described that I had two kidneys and would be giving him one and my little 5 year old said, "But you have two kidneys because you have two girls." I smiled and said, "Yes, but one day someone will do the same for me if we ever need one."
In October of 2006 (during construction of Napa), I heard both of Seth's kidneys were failing and in serious condition. I spoke to his mother who explained that several family members were not a match. His blood type was a difficult match and the odds were 1 in 5,000 that he would find a match. Seth was not family nor was he one of my best friends but he was a friend...period. I couldn't stand by and say, "Good luck on the wait list. I hope it works out for you." I didn't quantify our friendship. It wasn't about how well I knew him or how many years. He needed help. It was and always will be that simple. My instinct was to start the testing process and let the results speak. On December 6th, I got the call.
I was a match. 
It was snowing that morning and it was scary. What if something happened? I had gone through MRI, CT scans, endless blood work, tissue match, psychological testing and interviews to get to this day. The surgeon said to me, "Up until that last second you can back out. I will make up a reason for you but don't ever feel you have to go through with it." That wasn't an option to me. I followed my instinct from day one.
I was released in two days and back to work in 4. It has resulted in zero changes to my lifestyle and my health. It has resulted in infinite feeling of pride and satisfaction to see him happy and healthy today. Second to having my children, it was the most rewarding experience of my life. Seth gave me a gift this day 5 years ago. There is no better high than the gift of giving. 
Thank you Seth.    

FYI: 350,000 people in the United States are on the wait list for a kidney. 67,000 people die every year of kidney failure while waiting for a donor.  
- from Mary at napa&co. 


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