I donated my kidney because I survived a house fire in 2012. I was in the house, and when I evacuated with my son, I watched my house burn to the ground from the driveway. After I put my life back together, I felt compelled to give something back to the universe for letting me live. But I didn’t know what I needed to do until Jenny’s email came across my desk, asking for an O+ kidney. I answered the call immediately and never wavered in my decision to donate. I didn’t know Jenny but I could feel her need.
Before the kidney donation, I wasn’t much of an athlete. I enjoyed an occasional run, hike, or workout, but nothing specific. I just enjoyed staying in shape. After the kidney donation, I followed my doctor’s orders and didn’t lift anything over 10 pounds for 6 weeks and only walked. After 6 weeks I resumed my normal activities but started running mountains.
I enrolled in a local mountain race and participated three months after my kidney donation. Like most kidney donors, I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me and I had lost all of my adrenaline. I just couldn’t get that fire in my belly. But after about six months post-donation, I got my mojo back!
And with the added mental strength from donating I decided to do “all the things” that I never said I would do… like:
Nine months after donating I submitted Kilimanjaro (19,341 feet) in Jan 2018.
I started racing in Sprint and Olympic distance triathlons in 2018 and I started ice climbing/mountaineering.
I summited Aconcagua (22,841 feet) in January 2019.
I did my first XTRI (full Ironman distance, extreme triathlon) PatagonMan, in December 2019.
Ran the “W” of Torres De Paine, Patagonia, Chile, Dec 2019
I summited Denali (20,310) in June of 2021.
Summited Mt Baker (Cascades) with my 11-year-old daughter in August 2021
Ran Chattanooga Ironman September 2021
Climbed Mt Whitney (14,505) in October 2021 with my 11-year-old daughter
St. George IronMan in May of 2022. This is a picture of me with my recipient at the finish line!
Plan for 2022:
Mt Rainier (with my daughter) August 2022
Running the Atacama Desert (Chile) in September 2022
Greek Hero XTRI October 2022
PatagonMan XTRI 2022
I have promised my surgeon that I will stay hydrated during all my activities.. and I’m a bit OCD when it comes to hydration and self-care while doing any activity, especially endurance activities. I swim, bike, run, climb, and I’m slowly transitioning to longer endurance events. The human body is amazing. I don’t feel any different than before I donated except for my emotional drive to push my body to limits I’ve never been to, to test the limits of the human endurance on one kidney.
At my last check-up, at 4 years, my remaining kidney has completely taken over for the function of both of my kidneys and my creatine was 1.0. And my motto is Be Alive! I don’t want to live forever, I just want to be alive while I’m here. I shared my spare and now I get to live my life knowing I saved another, and there is no greater feeling (except maybe summiting a mountain!).