My transplant surgery was on April 27, 2016 in Westchester, New York. My recipient was a gentleman that I read about on Facebook from a post that his daughter created searching for a potential donor.
I’m an Altruistic Donor.
My decision to donate my kidney came about easily. If I’m in a position to help someone else, I’ve always done so. This situation was no different for me. I thought that if helping this gentleman means that he gets more time with his family, it would only be the right thing for me to do. Family is extremely important to me and I thought about my own father being in that very same situation and someone NOT helping him.
I’m indeed an altruistic donor however, I’m not apart of a kidney chain or swap. But this question brings me to a very important point now in 2018. My younger sister, Danielle Pushia-Austin is in need of a kidney and I’m believing God to send someone for her as I was sent to help another family. We found out her need for a kidney just a few months after I donated my kidney to the gentleman in New York.
As far as preparing for surgery, I focused on PRAYER! I spoke with my pastors, Pastor Stanley and Julie Ann Hayes of Enon Missionary Baptist Church in Sumter, South Carolina and they honestly gave me a peace about my decision. I had a few people that made attempts to talk me out of my decision so at that time, their words were extremely important to me.
I had no resources during my decision. Honestly, I made a simple prayer to God for me to be able to help this family on my birthday, December 7, 2015 and God honored my prayer. HE gave me the “YES” I needed.
As far as post kidney donation surgery, I stayed out of work for 3 months. I felt comfortable going back to work when my recipient went so we went back on the same day. The company that handles our short term disability claim, denied my claim so that was the only difficult part. I made several calls prior to the operation and representatives confirmed on every call that the procedure would be covered under a claim. I found out 3 weeks after the operation that they did NOT cover it simply because it was an altruistic recipient. However, God made provisions for me and my family helped me during my time out of work. My parents took turns helping me the full 3 months I was out of work. My employer, after ONE YEAR, paid me the back pay after me fighting with the insurance company and them NOT wanting the negative publicity.
I had a few people that were against it but I had more people that supported my decision than people who were against it. Some people advised me to save it for someone in my family who may need it but why allow my recipient to suffer longer and wait for another person when God had told me “Yes” and when I was in a position to help him NOW? It turns out as I mentioned now, 2018, my younger sister is in need of a kidney but I do NOT regret giving my kidney to a stranger. I’m grateful that God chose me to help my recipient. I’m humbled and I get overwhelmed with emotions at the fact that I literally saved his life.
I’m a full advocate for anything that could help someone else. I’ve encouraged many of my friends and close family members to consider it being a living donor. I live a full normal life and nothing has changed since my donation. I feel great physically, mentally and emotionally. The gentleman I donated to declined dialysis prior to our transplant. He had been on the donor list for 2 years and his health continued to decline. His wife and children begged him to get on dialysis but he continued to decline it. He told me that God told him 2 years prior to meeting me that He would send someone to donate to him and to refuse dialysis. He had no clue who that person was going to be or when they would come into his life to complete the operation. He simply believed God. I was the only altruistic donor tested for him and I was the only person that was a match for him. My recipient heard from God in 2012 and I heard from God to help my recipient in 2015. It all was an act of faith and divine timing.
My life has been so purpose driven since the donation. I feel as if God called me home right now, I’d be prepared and ready. Since my donation I have started an organization called Seeds & Deeds. I accept donations of hygiene items and make packages for the homeless or those less fortunate in Columbia, SC and in Charlotte, NC. I started Seeds & Deeds in September 2016 just 5 months after my donation. My life has changed all for the better.
I’m now advocating and assisting with locating a match for my sister. She is in need of a pancreas and kidney and I’m praying that sharing my story would help encourage someone to help her. I would’ve been the only one in my family able to help her as our other siblings suffer from other medical conditions that prevent and eliminate them from the ability to donate.
Location: Columbia, South Carolina