A few months prior to this adventure I became aware that someone I knew had suffered kidney failure and was now at the point of needing a transplant. What really caught my attention was our blood types matched. A small voice inside me said, “So why wouldn’t you?” I quickly came up with a short list, “One, it would hurt. Two, I’d have to take time off from work and I don't get paid vacation time. And three, it would hurt.” I know I used reason number 3 twice but it seemed important. As I was floating down to earth, recovering from the pain of the rapid deceleration, that same small voice in my head said, “Wow - You just paid $100 to jump out of an airplane simply for the thrill of it - and it hurt - and you’re going to use that excuse to not donate a kidney to someone you know is suffering and could die? Kinda lame.” It was shortly after that I made the decision to begin the screening process to become a live donor.
I went through the screening process at Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN. I stayed at the Gift of Life House during my evaluation. The Gift of Life House provides inexpensive housing for organ donor recipients. It is an absolutely awesome place that is run largely by volunteers. The hardest part of the evaluation process was my liver CT scan with contrast. Yes, I know we’re talking about kidneys, but the doctors wanted to look at my liver. It was a long process that included a BIG needle in my arm while being stuffed into a very SMALL tube. All I can say is I was looking back fondly at the 120 mph deceleration experience. But then I thought about what dialysis must feel like 3 times a week, 52 weeks a year, for 2 years. That stopped the whining voice in my head. My donation surgery will take place on June 9th.
The person I am making a donation for is Annabelle. She is 29 years old, married, loves to cook, and just recently became a citizen. She is a wonderful and kind person and good friends with my son Josh. She has been on dialysis since July of 2014.
I’m asking for help to cover a portion of my personal expenses involved in making an organ donation. While Annabelle’s insurance will cover my direct medical costs, it will not cover any of my transportation, food, or lodging expenses, or lost wages while I am recovering from the surgery (2-5 weeks). I work in private practice as a counselor and do not have any paid vacation time. I will probably lose 2-3 weeks of income during this process. The trip will require me to be in Rochester for approximately 7-8 days. I am also required to have to have a caregiver travel with me - and I need to cover their expenses as well. As the donor, and not the recipient, I do not get any tax deductions for my expenses. I am seeking grant assistance from the National Living Donor Assistance Center, but that will not cover lost income as a result of the transplant.
I need to raise approximately $4,000 to cover my expenses and lost income during my surgery and recovery. Any funds remaining after my expenses are covered will be donated to the Gift of Life House in Rochester to provide assistance to other donors and recipients.
Thank you for considering this need.
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