Friday, September 25, 2009


There was an interesting article in the Globe and Mail on September 24, 2009 about a woman named Lisa Sayer who donated one of her kidneys. It is an article worth reading. She decided to donate one of her kidneys to a complete stranger. No money was exchanged except that travel and out of pocket expenses were covered. Donating a kidney to a complete stranger, without one of your family members receiving a kidney in exchange, is called in the medical field, a non-directed altruistic donor. Lisa's donation created a chain of events, a domino effect where four people got new kidneys. On a single day, four different operating rooms, across Canada, were involved in kidney transplants. The newspaper article provides a number of statistics including these facts: 35,000 Canadians have kidney disease, 4,000 people are on the wait list for a kidney from a deceased person and of the 1,200 kidney donations from last year, 40% were from living donors.

There are other donations that living donors make besides kidneys. People donate blood, plasma and bone marrow. I know people that donate blood and plasma on a routine basis and people who have donated one of their kidneys to family members but I have not yet met someone who donated one of their kidneys for purely altruistic purposes.

This article in the Globe and Mail makes one think about what would you do. I have filled out my donation card and carry it in my wallet outlining my wishes to donate whatever body parts are deemed worthy for transplant into others. If I was faced with the decision to donate a kidney or bone marrow to my DH or sibling, I could do it. I would want them to have a better life if they needed one of my two healthy kidneys or needed some of my bone marrow. But I could not donate one of my kidneys for purely altruistic reasons to an unknown stranger. It takes a special person to be willing to take that step. Lisa Sayer is a special person.

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