The Gift of an Organ Transplant

In 2001, I was blessed with the gift of a kidney transplant. As I had no relative able to donate, a co-worker stepped in and offered to be my donor. We matched in two out of six antigens. Paula had to go through a battery of tests to show that she was healthy enough, emotionally stable and not acting out of some less-than-selfless motivation. She moved to another state before I needed the kidney and I thought that I would have to wait until someone died to receive a transplant.

Several months later, Paula called to let me know where she was and to assure me that she had called the transplantation center in San Francisco to let them know she was still available. When the time came, we brought her back to Reno then drove to the Bay Area for the procedures.

Throughout this process, my greatest fear was the possibility that something would happen to Paula or that, down the road, one of her children might need a kidney. When I asked her about it, she said simply, “I have to believe that if God is putting me here for you, if my children need my help, someone will be there for them.” I think of this often and although we’re not in constant contact, she’s always present in my prayers, my gratitude and in my living.

My novel, “Winter is Past,” began with this question: “What if something happened to my donor–who would be there for her?”

One thought on “The Gift of an Organ Transplant

  1. David J Undis says:

    Your story about Organ Donation highlighted the tragic shortage of human organs for transplant operations.

    Over 50% of the people on the national transplant waiting list will die before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate 20,000 transplantable organs every year.

    There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage – give donated organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

    Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren’t willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

    Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition. LifeSharers has over 13,500 members at this writing.

    Please contact me – Dave Undis, Executive Director of LifeSharers – if your readers would like to learn more about our innovative approach to increasing the number of organ donors. I can arrange interviews with some of our local members if you’re interested. My email address is My phone number is 615-351-8622.


Your comment and feedback are important to me. Thank you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s