Shaun donated a kidney on August 24th, 2017 to Jamie.
One night my wife was on Facebook and showed me a post about one of her coworkers who's 13 year old son needed a kidney. My wife told me that she would go through testing to see if she could donate but she wasn't the right blood type to even be considered for testing. She told me the donor's blood type was O+ which is the same as mine. I said I'd think about getting testing. After a day or so of thinking about it and looking into it, I decided that I would get tested to see if I was a match. After several months of testing, I was approved. My wife also decided that if she would donate to this boy, why not another stranger? She made a post on Facebook about wanting to donate, and a random friend put her in contact with a girl who needed a kidney, and she ended up donating to that girl two weeks before I donated to Jamie. It's crazy where life leads you lol.
The process leading up to donating involved a lot of blood work and urine samples. It also involved ekg's, catscans and x-rays. I also had to talk with a registered nurse, social worker, doctors, and surgeons. I also met with a psychiatrist and went through a mental health evaluation.
The only way I feel like I personally prepared was by positive thinking and meditating. When I found out I was approved to donate, everyday I'd tell myself that the surgery would go well without complication and that I'd wake up thankful to be alive and able to do what I did.
I did a lot of research online, but one of my colleagues who is also a registered nurse told me she donated to her sister when she was a teenager, so I got a lot of info and encouragement from her. Also, while I went through testing to be a donor, I was given a team of advocates which consisted of registered nurses, social workers, and doctors. They gave me a ton of info about the whole process as well as support, encouragement, and the ability to back out at any point without anyone knowing it was my decision to call it off.
The support and love I received was truly overwhelming and humbling. I honestly feel so grateful that I was able to donate. Most people were more than supportive and loving but a few people were nervous for me and wanted to me to think about reconsidering.
I'm currently about halfway through the process of recovering. I work as an RN in the emergency department and was told that I'll need 6-8 weeks off of work due to the possible strenuous activities my job requires. I'm not allowed to lift anything over 10 pounds for six weeks of recovery. After the six weeks is up, there's really no limitations as far as what my lifestyle was like before I donated. My advocate team introduced me to a couple resources that help kidney donors pay some of the bills while recovering, considering you're not making income. I applied and got some financial support. My wife and I also moved in with her parents while we're recovering, and they've been more help than they could ever know.
Being a kidney donor really hasn't changed my life at all, other than feeling like I truly helped someone. Donating an organ to someone, especially altruistically is a feeling that you can't explain until you've done it. I did it ultimately because it could save a boy's life.
For people who are looking into becoming a living kidney donor. I'd say, Definitely do it!! It will not only change the life of someone else, but it'll be the best thing you've ever done! I can completely understand anyone not being able to do it, but I'd say if you're even considering it, then you're half way there! Again, it'll be the best thing you've ever done.
I'd just like to add that there are too many people in need of kidneys. In fact, the number of people who die everyday because they didn't have someone donate to them is depressingly mind blowing. I'd like to spread awareness and hope that my story might inspire others to give the gift of life. I never even thought about donating an organ, especially to someone I didn't know. It's crazy where life leads you.
If you're interested in the least bit, I'd highly suggest getting tested. Make a post on social media about wanting to donate. You might be surprised that someone you know may know of someone in need. You can also contact your local hospital and talk to them about getting on the donor list.
Shaun's wife, Taira, donated a kidney to someone in need just two weeks prior on August 10, 2017.
Location: Auburndale, FL