Donating a Kidney Hasn’t Slowed Me Down

By Donna Drasher

donnaanddadThis past Saturday I ran the Healthy Kidney 10K in Central Park in honor of my dad. My dad has Type II diabetes, and over the last 15 years has suffered from numerous health issues, including having his right leg amputated below the knee due to a diabetic ulcer on his foot.

About three years ago, after suffering from complications to an appendectomy, we found out he was on the verge of kidney failure. We started to weigh our options, and after meeting with a few doctors, the subject of a kidney transplant came up. I never thought transplant would be an option given that my dad has suffered complications from many of the surgeries he’s undergone over the years, but the doctors assured us they would make sure it would be safe for him before proceeding.

And so began a long year and a half journey. I decided I wanted to donate a kidney to my father. I had to undergo testing to make sure I didn’t have high blood pressure, diabetes, and that I was healthy enough to undergo surgery. We also had to make sure I was a match for dad. The day after Christmas 2010, we got the best present when we found out I was a match.

Next up was making sure my dad was okay for surgery. He had to have a heart catheterization to make sure his heart was strong enough for the surgery. Thankfully, everything went well with that procedure, and we were good to go! The only challenge was my schedule because I was working full time and pursuing my MBA at NYU. We scheduled surgery for the first Tuesday after school ended – June 20, 2011. Unfortunately, my dad developed a wound on his leg, and the doctors wouldn’t operate for fear it would get infected. Surgery was rescheduled to July and then August, and we were 10 minutes from me going to the OR when surgery was postponed again. We then had to wait until December because of my school schedule. On December 20, 2011, we finally made it! Surgery was incredibly successful, and my dad’s new kidney started working as soon as they hooked it up!

11-0198__0781We’re now almost a year and a half after surgery, and we are both doing great. For me, it’s like nothing ever happened. Four weeks after surgery, I was flying to India for a trip for school. A month after that, I had to go to Belgium for work. Two months after that, I did a 5k mud run. Last fall I graduated from my MBA program as valedictorian, completed my first half marathon, ran the Tough Mudder, and took trapeze lessons, just to name a few things. I’ve honestly never felt better, and I’ve had no side effects to donating a kidney. I would highly recommend this to anyone who’s considering donating. It’s an amazing gift to give someone, and the impact on the person donating is so minimal in the grand scheme of things.

To learn more about organ donation click here.

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