I was in high school. Not sure if I was a junior or senior. Not sure why the thought even entered my head. Whatever was going on in my life at that time led me to the conclusion that I wanted to be a living donor.
At that point, living kidney donation was the only thing I was aware of.
I remember telling my Mom and I remember her saying no… that I might have kids one day and that they might need my kidney.
And I think that response is as dumb today as it was then.
Fast forward to the age of 36 and no kids.
For whatever reason, over the past few weeks something had nudged me in the direction of pursuing what I felt called to 18 years before.
I currently work for myself and am responsible for no one, except Tucker the dog, and I knew he would be ok with it.
I started researching both living kidney and liver donation and came to the realization that pursuing a liver donation at this time would actually be more appropriate. I also had no clue what all that would entail or all of the different reasons I could be denied.
One of the first reasons I found that I could be denied is the fact that many transplant centers in the United States don’t currently do altruistic living liver transplants ( some don’t even do living liver transplants at all!).
Since I currently live in Washington, I first inquired with Seattle. They didn’t do altruistic living liver donations. I then checked with the transplant center in Dallas where I knew I would have a support system. They also didn’t do altruistic living liver donations.
I was stunned and confused. Why on earth did they require you to know and have a relationship with your recipient when altruistic kidney donations were done all the time?
I also wondered if this was the door closing… if I should take this as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be. I struggled to let it go because it was seemingly such a random desire to have for almost 20 years and I felt that must mean something.
As luck would have it, the day I received the email from the hospital in Texas, we were experiencing some internet issues on the island… I didn’t have enough to be productive and get some work done, but there was enough to goof around on my phone and do little bits of research… I clearly wasn’t ready to take no for an answer.
Before the day was over I turned to social media to see if I could find some answers. I found several Facebook groups that were for both those awaiting organ transplants and for people interested in becoming a donor. So, to try to understand why nobody seemed to want what I was offering, I posted this:
And that post started both the journey to becoming a living liver donor as well as the creation of Living Donor Match.