Living kidney donation is a supremely generous act. Recently we asked living donors in our Facebook community what advice they would give someone who is thinking of becoming a living kidney donor.
Numerous donors chimed in, and their advice was nearly unanimous: Just do it!
"If you are able, don't hesitate," says Doris. "The process is simple, recovery was easy. There is no greater blessing than to save someone's life." Doris, who is 62 years old, says her remaining kidney is working just fine.
Helena says, "Do it! It's life-changing for both people involved. The recipient will literally get their life back and you will get the satisfaction of knowing you have helped them do it." Helena donated a kidney to her husband a year and a half ago. "In my case our whole family got its life back, "she says. "I got my hubby back and our little kids now have their daddy back."
Many donors said it is vitally important to be fully educated and fully prepared before you donate a kidney.
"Prepare yourself — mentally, physically and spiritually," said Teresa. "Listen to the doctors and do it. Save someone's life and be an organ donor!" Marilyn agrees. "DO IT!!!" she says. "But make sure you are in good health first." Jennifer advises, "Make sure you are mentally prepared to do this with no expectations, and no strings attached."
Living donors go on to live full, healthy lives.
Ron donated a kidney to his brother 45 years ago. "I have had no ill effects, lived a normal life," he says. "Sometimes I forget that I have only one kidney. No regrets, second thoughts or doubts." Reedy gave a kidney to his brother in 1995. "Great experience," he says.
"It is a lot easier than it looks," says Amaya. "I did and even had a beautiful and healthy son years later."
Carol donated a kidney to her daughter eight years ago. "It was the best thing I ever did. No health issues from donating."
Patients who are waiting for a kidney and others who have lost a loved one to kidney disease also joined in the conversation.
"You are our miracle that we're waiting for," says Mary." You're our chance at living."
Sherri captured what it means to the recipient. "Words could never express the gratitude giving the gift of life to another human being," she says. "You give hope to them and their families. Bless all who have given so unselfishly!"
Vicki lost her fiancé to kidney disease last year, before he could get a transplant. "I continue to honor him and his wishes by attempting to find donors and help others who are affected by this disease."
Many donors feel the experience is as rewarding for them as it is for the transplant recipient.
"It was an honor to be chosen for such a task," says Niki, who donated a kidney 15 years ago. "I'm glad I was given the opportunity to do it." Vanessa calls it her "best decision ever" and Susan says, "It's a fantastic feeling saving another person's life."
"Someday you will look at the recipient whose life has been saved and completely changed and won't believe what a wonderful thing you have done," says Ron.
Elizabeth says, "You will never regret it, you will never look back, and it will be one of your most fulfilling life moments."
Lissa sums it up: "The pain was minimal. The recovery was easy. The knowledge that the kidney gave the gift of life — priceless."