Daughter of a Donor, Age 16
On an ordinary day in an ordinary week I arrived home from school for what I expected to be a relaxing evening, when my parents said they had something they wanted to discuss with me. They explained to me that there was someone in the community who needed a kidney. My parents are always responding to the needs of people in our community so I didn’t quite understand why we were having this talk. They continued to explain that to help someone who needs a kidney, you need to be a match. My father explained that after learning about the need he decided to see if he would be a match and they had just found out that indeed he was. It was clear to my father that if his tests proved he was a match that he had no choice but to move forward. I had a number of questions, but before I could ask my father allayed some of my concerns by explaining that while he would only have one kidney, our bodies are capable of working with only one. I still had many questions about the procedure and the recovery. He told me that it would be a short recovery and there would be no after effects.
When I saw him a few hours after the surgery, he looked very uncomfortable, but by the next day he seemed back to himself, visiting with the recipient in his hospital room. As soon as I got to school, people came over and told me that my dad was a hero, that what he did was amazing and that I must be so proud of him.
My father has been my teacher from the day I was born. This time he was teaching by example. This experience has gotten me thinking. Much of what we do to help people in need, comes pretty easy to us. We give charity, we pray, we shop and cook for people who are in need. But how many of us respond when the need makes us uncomfortable or requires our changing schedules or requires our putting ourselves at risk? And how could I learn to reach that level of giving?
All people matter, no matter who they are, how smart they are, what they look like, how observant or how wealthy they are. And how do I keep this in mind as I meet and interact with people on a regular basis.
My father, my teacher, and yes my hero has set the bar high. I feel that this experience, beyond making me proud to be his daughter, has challenged me to be the best that I can be.