Cara’s Domino Donation

As an altruistic living kidney donor, I wanted to share my story with you. April 26, 2010 I was the domino for 8 people to receive new kidneys. It is my mission to be a full time advocate of the Living Kidney Donor process with emphasis on altruistic donorship.

I was invited to speak on WTTW Channel 11 of Chicago on May 19, 2010.  This segment can be viewed by going to the following WTTW link :
Simply click on the link and go to the May 19th segment of Chicago Tonight.  We were extremely grateful to have this media opportunity to spread the word of how important it is to increase the numbers of Living Kidney Donors.

I just became an altruistic living donor on April 26, 2010 at Northwestern Hospital.  I have type O positive blood which makes me a universal donor. The fact that I am an altruistic donor and have a universal blood type made me the domino to make it possible for a “domino paired kidney exchange. Instead of my kidney helping one person, I was able to help EIGHT!!  This was something I have wanted to do for the last 4 years and has now become a reality.  It has been an incredible, rewarding journey.  Never did I think that my donation would mean so much to so many people.

Helping me along the way was the Living Kidney Donors Network a nonprofit organization that helps people who are in need of a kidney transplant and those that are interested in donating.  Their website is and I hope you will take the time to see the wonderful work of this organization.

The surgery was at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, this was their largest kidney exchange.  Dr. Joseph Leventhal was the lead surgeon and head of the Kidney Transplant Unit.

Although I had originally wanted to be an anonymous donor, I realized that by spreading the word about the need for kidney transplants, I would help more people by sharing my experience. As you can see, altruistic donors can save the lives of many.  It is now my personal mission to be of assistance to anyone who is considering becoming an altruistic donor.
I speak a great deal to people who contact Mr. Mysel who want to learn more about the transplant process. Mr. Mysel himself needed a kidney transplant in 2006 and fortunately for him, his wife was a match and able to donate to him.  Unfortunately that is not the case with many people waiting for a kidney transplant.

I have received many letters and phone calls since my donation on April 26th. I have a blog, to help answer the many questions people may have.  This week’s blog will be an interview with the gentleman who received my kidney.  Each week I am addressing questions that have been posed to me from those who are seeking more information about becoming a living kidney donor.

My motivation for donating is my way of giving back, giving someone a chance to live a better life. My interest in becoming a donor started in 2006 when I was invited to a fund raising dinner for the John Brockington Foundation in San Diego.  While at the Gala, a few tables away, a couple received a 911 page that a kidney donor had been found for their five year old Son.

I learned more about the kidney pairing donation process and the impact that one altruistic donor could have. After that, I knew what I wanted to do.  I have been an organ donor since I started driving, but since I knew I could live a normal, healthy life with one kidney I wanted someone to benefit sooner…not later.

John Brockington, an All-American at Ohio State University entered the NFL Draft and was immediately asked to join the Packers .Brockington played more than six seasons as a running back with the Packers and ultimately carried them to the National Football Conference (NFC) Central Division Championship. In 2001, John needed a kidney transplant.  He was fortunate that a dear friend of his, Diane, was able to donate.  Luckily, this petite woman’s kidney wasn’t so petite and she was able to donate to John. Shortly thereafter, she became Mrs. Brockington, choosing to not only donate a kidney but to share a life with John. John and Diane have dedicated their lives to The John Brockington Foundation.

John and Diane are honoring me this fall with the Circle of Honor Award from the John Brockington Foundation.  I will be the fifth to receive this great honor.

There are over 85,000 people on the kidney transplant waiting list. The average wait is 5 years, many people wait much longer.  Dialysis is a means of sustaining life but the longer someone is on dialysis the success rates are less favorable. For many that wait is too long, more than 4,500 people on the waiting list die each year.

Studies support living kidney donation, for the recipient and the donor. It is well known that a kidney from a living donor is superior to one from a deceased donor and that there is little risk for the donors, they go on to have normal lives.

On May 19th, myself, Harvey Mysel and two of the Transplant surgeons were asked to appear of WTTW, Channel 11 here in Chicago.

I truly hope that you will be inspired enough to dedicate time to tell your followers about the Living Kidney Donors Network. This Foundation is helping save the lives of many and was so helpful to me during my journey.

Thank you so much for your consideration and time.  Please feel free to contact me via email or phone at any time.  I’ve also provide you with Mr. Mysel’s contact information.


Cara Yesawich
Living Kidney Donor
demo reel link:

1500 W. Walton Street, 2F
Chicago, Illinois 60622

Harvey Mysel
Founder, Living Kidney Donor Network