“Serendipity: finding pleasing things one had not been looking for.”
As donors, we so often hear from non-donors that it must feel great to have saved someone’s life through donation. It absolutely does feel incredible, and helping another human live life was why I chose to donate. I can’t help also telling non-donors of the serendipitous gifts of wonderful friendships with other donors that I have received.
Prior to committing to my kidney donation, I had the extreme good fortune of connecting with non-directed donors, Tracey and Patty, who answered my questions and introduced me to two more donors, Sarah and Jen. Not only were all four terrific resources as I prepared for my donation, but they also became friends who cheered with gusto the day I officially joined their dynamic circle. Then this most inclusive group started expanding into a full-fledged community as Patty began organizing regular One Kidney Club happy hours for Colorado and Tracey launched KDA.
We were all discovering that kidney donors have the strong primary commonality of donation, and we also share many life tenants and interests that catalyzed connectivity. These connections with kindred spirits have blossomed into friendships that I treasure as the most unexpected reward of donating! Since my donation in November 2018, I’ve enjoyed good times hiking, volunteering and advocating, dining, viewing movies, swapping podcasts, and cheering with my kidney donor friends.
This immediate synergy with other kidney donors even transfers across oceans! As Tracey was developing a national and international footprint for KDA, I was planning a sabbatical in New Zealand, and she happily helped to connect me to Kidney Donor Athletes, Charlotte and Leah. Charlotte introduced me to the game of cricket, and Leah and I rewarded ourselves with ice cream after a good hike. Leah has also started a NZ Kidney Donor group to encourage community.
Through an internet search for NZ donors, I found Richard and met him for a hike. I also dined with Kate, who was introduced to me through a friend of a friend whilst traveling in NZ. There was so much to share with and learn from all four of these Kiwis beyond the initial swap of our donor stories that I consider these encounters among the top highlights of my trip.
I look forward to making many more friends as the living kidney donor community grows and I continue to travel and seek these connections. The KDA community of Colorado and I welcome any of you to connect with us if you are traveling here!