For the non Facebook users... Living kidney donor. I have a strong one and a stronger one, and someone needs the strong one. Taking care of StrongFirst family. I'm very fortunate to be healthy enough to be approved to do this! The surgery (nephrectomy +transplant) will be next month.
Also, you all may not know that we have another StrongFirst example of living donation! @Hector G was a liver donor last year. He is back to strong, now. Posted on his Facebook page 26 April 2019: "5 months post liver donation and I still have the beast—without any strict pressing." Glad he is showing the way!!
Providing the the text here for the forum, because --- you guys are the community!
"150 grams -- that is how much a kidney weighs. Most of us have two of these little powerhouses that continuously perform important things within our bodies. These little organs maintain the body's salt and water content, regulate acid/base balance, control blood pressure, make Erythropoietin (EPO) to regulate red blood cells, activate Vitamin D, maintain phosphorous balance, and help maintain gut flora. And of course, in performing these functions, they filter our blood and produce urine. Blood flows in through the renal artery, is filtered through the million or so nephrons within the kidney, and out comes filtered blood to the renal vein, and urine from the ureter. Magic!
There are many reasons kidneys can fail, and fortunately, we have dialysis to keep people alive when this happens. But dialysis has a lot of drawbacks. It only replaces about 20% of kidney function, and it takes a LOT of time -- normally 4 hours, 3 times per week. A much better solution for those who medically qualify is to get a replacement kidney. Most of us are aware that people can get a transplant from a donor, and that someone who dies under certain conditions and is designated as an organ donor can give the gift of life to others. But not everyone realizes that LIVING donation is possible. A very healthy person can get along with just one kidney. They can, therefore, donate one of their healthy kidneys to someone who needs it, and the remaining one will take over the job quite adequately. Although there are about 5,000 living kidney donations per year here in the United States, it's still rare enough that it's not on everyone's radar.
I learned about living donation a couple of years ago. My brother is a nephrologist (a kidney doctor), and we talked about it at length one time. I remember asking many questions, being intrigued by the whole idea, and coming away from the conversation with the feeling that "I might do that someday." I assumed then if I did, it would be for a family member.
Fast forward to January 3rd, 2019 and I saw a local news story about a cashier who donated a kidney to the wife of her regular customer. It was a wonderful story that inspired me. This woman named Leilani showed me by her example that it doesn't have to be someone in your family -- if you are willing and able to help someone, you should just do it! For her, the link was "community." She didn't know her recipient directly, but she felt that it was someone that she was connected to who was in need, and that was enough.
The reason it inspired me is that I knew of someone in MY community - strength training, and specifically StrongFirst - who needed a kidney. I've been in strength training and StrongFirst for about 5 years. People often refer to "StrongFirst family" and there's a reason for that. We share common bonds and they are much more than careers or hobbies or forms of exercise. We teach, help, assist, coach, mentor, and encourage each other in everything training related and more. We see each other regularly in person and online. Sometimes the lines are blurry -- people drift in and out, and it includes the larger kettlebell and strength world. But it is definitely a community, a tribe, a web of connections, and there is more to it than training. We help each other. As we say, Strength Has a Greater Purpose.
StrongFirst and the rest of the community rallied around Dustin Rippetoe and his family for support, fundraising, and the search for a donor as a result of his end-stage kidney disease. We hadn't met in person, but I saw many posts and messages from my friends who were friends of his, who spoke so highly of him and his family and spoke of the need for a donor to step forward. Dustin shared his own story in such a way as to offer teachable moments to others and invite them to be involved. I witnessed a strong team of champions form around him to build a web site, a custom T-shirt, a GoFundMe campaign, Facebook support page, and the "All the Swings" event with people participating worldwide. At some point, I contributed to the fund myself. But the idea was forming in the back of my mind that maybe I was to have a bigger role... Maybe I could be the donor. It just wasn't quite clear to me yet.
There are three big parts to being a living donor: 1) the pre-donation process and tests, 2) the surgery and recovery, and 3) the life afterwards with one kidney. A lot of people who would be willing or able to do one or two of these are just not able to do all of them. Some people's life demands just don't offer an opportunity. Many if not most people have a medical condition that precludes being a donor because the process is extremely selective. I felt strongly that I could do all three parts. I also felt sure I was healthy enough to pass the tests, thanks in no small part to my effective training over the years.
So finally, on January 3rd, 2019, my pre-disposition to being willing to be a kidney donor, my awareness of Dustin's situation through our community, and Leilani's example of giving all came together to spur me to action. "Someone needs something, and I believe I can provide it." This has been my driving force from that day forward. I contacted Dustin's team and thus began another series of events which as of today, are still in motion towards our scheduled day of surgery. There will be more to say about that. But for now, I just wanted to put into words how I came to say "YES" to this amazing opportunity to be Dustin's kidney donor. I want to thank everyone who played a part in this -- by being in the community, and especially the team that helped Dustin directly, you enabled this. Without you, it would not be happening. And the best is yet to come."
As I said when I posted it on Facebook, "Seems strange now to refer to Dustin Rippetoe as someone I didn't know -- that is how it started almost 6 months ago, but after working together on this "project" since January, it definitely now feels feels like I'm doing it for a very good friend and his wonderful family."
I did get to mention StrongFirst in the news story!