14 January 2010

A quick note about a hero

My chapter-by-chapter commentary on Signature in the Cell will resume shortly. But I can't resist writing a little about someone I know who did something extraordinary. Here's the short version.

This friend of mine, we'll call her "Susan," became inspired several months ago while reading accounts of people resisting Nazi occupation during World War II, and especially those who risked their lives (and often lost their lives) working to assist Jews and others targeted by the occupiers. She wondered how/if she would/could do such things. Subsequently, she read a story in our local paper about a grieving father who, in his son's name and honor, had donated a kidney to someone he didn't know, as part of a kidney donation chain. Susan thought, "I can do that." (She's married and has four kids ranging in age from 17 to 9.)

She contacted the local transplant program and found out that such altruistic donations had not occurred in Grand Rapids and that the center didn't have procedures for such an arrangement. But when the program realized Susan was serious, they put the procedures together and began the testing to determine Susan's suitability as a donor. It all culminated in the first altruistic kidney donation in West Michigan on Monday, 11 January. Both Susan and the recipient are doing really well.

Susan is my hero. Somehow, I'm lucky enough to be married to her. We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary a little more than two weeks ago.

Please look into the kidney donation thing. Think of it as an anniversary gift.

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