This is Part II of a series of hopefully-millions! (But I'm not great with Roman numerals when they get that high...)
Last May, I had the honor of speaking at a “Celebration of Life” sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois. It was the first of what is intended to be an annual event honoring living organ donors and their recipients.
I met a pretty neat guy and his wife on the way in – Harvey and Amy Mysel. Harvey was in kidney failure and six months ago, Amy gave him one of hers. After my little talk (download draft of presentation ) Harvey approached me and told me about an organization he was forming: the Living Kidney Donors Network.
Harvey’s intent is for this organization to provide free services to individuals who are in need of a kidney transplant – the primary goal being to educate and train individuals so they can successfully find a living kidney donor. It will not be a “matching service” – rather, they will educate people in need (and provide information for people interested in being a donor) so they can overcome the myths and misconceptions when they speak to a potential living donor. And, train people so they can effectively communicate their message – providing them with networking skills so they can convey their message to a larger number of people…
At the time of this posting, there are 72,448 people in the United States waiting for a kidney. For every living donation Harvey can influence, he’s helping save at least two lives! The recipient of the living donation, naturally – but also, the kidney that may have been destined to that recipient can now be directed to someone else on the list.
I “bumped into” Harvey again through a newspaper article. Harvey is training with his two sons to take Amy’s kidney on a triathlon! His sons, Daniel and David, coaxed Harvey (center) into doing the triathlon – and they are doing it to help create awareness about kidney donation and Harvey’s foundation.
Ted’s inspiration for creating the My Angel Foundation and this Revive Hope blog is to honor his Mom, who gave him her kidney 11 months ago. Similarly, Harvey’s inspiration for creating the Living Kidney Donors Network is his wife, Amy. Isn’t it neat when a gift from one special person gives on to so many others?!?!
Harvey and Ted have received very special gifts from very special people – and they’re using those gifts to help others.
And I’d like to tip my hat to Pioneer Press, a member of the Sun-Times News Group. In my experience, they provide good coverage of organ donation and the surrounding issues. (Including one about me and Kari!)