Iggy, my 26 year old son, a recent college grad with a great job, a wonderful girlfriend, and a promising future - was in kidney failure. He needed to spend 12 hours a week on dialysis to stay alive. His condition would continue to deteriorate until he could get a new kidney. I found it heart breaking.
We were informed there are 114,000 candidates in the USA waiting for a kidney from a deceased donor with a wait time of 2-4 years (UNOS.org). He had fought so many health battles in the past it just didn't seem fair. I volunteered to donate my kidney to him. We were disheartened to find out I wasn't a match.
Our hope was restored when the transplant team at The Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, told us a paired exchange donation could be facilitated by entering the National Kidney Registry. I would offer to donate my kidney to another individual in need of a kidney who wasn't a match with their potential donor.
The NKR uses a computer program to match incompatible pairs of kidney donor- recipients with other incompatible kidney donor-recipients until compatible matches are found. The wait time is usually only a few months for compatible pairs to be found. In our case it took 5 months, a chain of 5 donors recipients and two hospitals to make it work.
All the surgeries happened simultaneously to ensure all the recipients were provided the promised kidney. Eric received the kidney from a 43 year old wife of a kidney recipient. My kidney went to a 55 year old husband and father.
Well that was 2 months ago. I am pretty much recovered and feeling well. I have even started riding my bike again. I have one more month of activity restrictions before I can resume all my usual activities. Iggy now has a bright future. He looks the healthiest and happiest I have seen him in years. I am grateful to his donor, to the NKR, B&W and Mass General Transplant Teams, and everyone else who made this life changing gift possible.
|Jo, Iggy, and Sue|