Monday, March 15, 2010

Altruistic Donors

Over the past few months, 6 people have contacted me who are donating a kidney. Some, are donating altruistically, others know who they are donated to, but didn't know their recipient before they heard about their need. Three are still in the evaluation process. Hearing their stories is so heart warming.

One person, Amy Maliborski donated a kidney after reading about that persons need from a note on the church's bulletin board. Amy was out of town when the plea for a donor was made during a service.

I've been telling Amy's story for months, so you could imagine my surprise when I saw an email from her. Amy contacted me after finding my website offering to help by speaking to other people intersted in donating.

I communicate with a fellow blogger, Nancy Murrell, another altruistic donor. Here's Nancy's blog from a conversation she had with Amy. You could follow Nancy at:

Nancy's Blog:
Living kidney donor: ‘I have a renewed hope about my ability to love’

In February, Amy Aliborski donated one of her kidneys to Annie Laib, a stranger whose need she heard about through her church bulletin. She kindly consented to share her experience as a living kidney donor below.

I have enjoyed this experience; more than I thought was possible. My life will never again be the same. I have discovered so much about myself, my friends and family. I am so much braver than I ever imagined.

I have a renewed sense of confidence in everyday situations. I tell myself , “If you can donate your kidney, you can do this.”

I have a renewed hope about my ability to love. For example, if I loved you (a stranger) enough to offer you part of me; I can love the person at work who typically drives me crazy.

This journey has also gifted me with a great sense of gratitude. I am so thankful for my health and for the health of my children. For the week that I didn’t feel so healthy, I realized how tough it must be for mothers with chronic diseases to take care of their families. One of my friends gave me a card that said, “Sleep, wealth and health must be interrupted in order to be appreciated.” So true.

I have learned how much my friends and family love me and how willing they are to protect me. I was so naïve when I initially thought that my husband and I would be able to manage everything during this experience on our own. Wrong! It felt good to accept the help, love and prayers from our friends and family. I have also learned how many of our friends have stories of people they know with kidney disease and transplants. It is an honor to be a symbol of hope for people waiting for a transplant.

More than anything, it has been a privilege to live out God’s message of love. It feels so good to have actually lived what God calls us to. As the Jesuits like to say: “Men (and women) for and with others.” This has given my life purpose and meaning.

So many people have said to me that they would have never been able to do this. But I know differently. There isn’t anything special about me, only that I was open to hearing God’s call and prayed for the faith to act on it.

My three children have been troupers during this experience. They didn’t really miss a beat. But, every once in awhile, I get a glimpse of how proud they are of me. Seeing Mom in the newspaper was exciting, but I see how thrilled they are when their teacher or basketball coach tells me how I have inspired them or how I am their hero. It is my hope that they will have learned compassion and patience through this journey.

It has been an honor and privilege to donate my kidney to a stranger (though she’s not a stranger any longer!)

– Amy Maliborski

Thanks, Amy!

And thank you Nancy!!!!

Harvey Mysel is a kidney transplant recipient and Founder of the Living Kidney Donors Network, a nonprofit organization that offers Workshops and Webinars to educate people in need of a kidney transplant about living kidney donation and help prepare them to effectively communicate their need to family members and friends. The Living Kidney Donors Network website is: and Harvey could be reached at: or follow him on Twitter


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