Bobbie’s Donation to the Her Mother in 1979

I donated a kidney to my mother on April 10, 1979 and it was the best feeling in the world to be able to do so. I have been hearing and seeing so much on the TV lately about living donors and wanted to share my story.

I was one of 9 children my mother gave life to and I alone initiated the procedure by contacting the National Kidney Foundation to begin the process. I was so happy to find that I was a perfect match – so were a couple others, but I wanted to do it first and I won! My siblings thought that mom was OK because she was on dialysis and didn’t think further about her life expectancy, but it was always on my mind — what next — how long can she go on like this?

It was not easy to get the opportunity, you see. Mom was on dialysis and was driving from Cobb County to DeKalb County, Georgia 3 times each week for the dialysis at the only dialysis clinic we knew existed at that time. I contacted the doctor over the clinic and told him I wanted to become a donor and went through the next year or so in a kind of battle. The doctor there told me that it was rare to perform transplants with living donor kidneys and especially a living offspring. He said he would present my proposal to first, the hospital in Denver, CO — after which he told me they refused to transplant with my being the donor. Then he said he presented my case to Virginia – again he stated I was denied. Then he stated he presented the case to Vanderbilt and again told me the same story. I then became so frustrated because my mom was getting weaker. I spoke to my supervisor at work and he suggested I contact the National Kidney Service in Atlanta and ask them what I could do. Upon doing so, I learned that the doctor was just avoiding the transplant and that transplants were being done at Emory Hospital as we spoke and that if I really wanted to do this, I could. So the doctor there at Kidney Services gave me the plan. I first had to obtain release of mine and my mother’s medical records from the dialysis clinic. Then I had to contact all my siblings and have everyone go down to be tested. Then after discovering that three of us were matches (only two of age), the decision came down to which one was actually “ready and willing” to go through the donation process. I, of course, demanded I be the one. Although I had a child at home that needed me, I knew that one day if I needed the same, he would do for me what I was willing to do for my mother.

To make a long story short ——-

I am now 62 years of age and have never had any problems relating to the donation of my healthy kidney at the age of 26. I am so happy that I was able to give the gift of life to my mother and to be able to share another 13.5 years with her before she passed away of cancer in October 1992. I have the normal age-related pains and ailments that come with getting older, but the kidney I have remaining has served me well for the past 35.5 years and is still working great.

I recommend highly that anyone that has the capability to donate the gift of life do so — the feeling will always be one of pride knowing you were part of a “miracle.”