Live kidney donor would do it again, if she could
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of saving another person’s life by donating an organ while you are still alive, Christina Shull of Wenatchee told me recently.
Shull donated the kidney three years ago after reading a newspaper article about donations of kidneys from live donors. Shull, who was living in Roseburg, Oregon, at the time, had been aware of people donating organs to people they knew but to that point had not heard of anonymous donations.
Shull told me she grew up in a family where giving back to the community was an important part of life. Her parents were active in the Save the Riverfront Committee that prevailed in preventing a highway from being built on the east shore of the Columbia River.
Prior to donating kidney, she went through a battery of tests to make sure that she was psychologically and physically capable of being a donor. She had the surgery done at Swedish Hospital in Seattle with the recipient in the next room.
Once the surgeon had removed her kidney, it was whisked to the next room, her blood was flushed from the organ, and it was implanted. Her recovery was quick. She went back to work two weeks later and she is living a full and complete life.
Shull is passionate advocate for live organ donations. There are a lot of misconceptions that she tries to dispel when she talks to people. Some are concerned that they wouldn’t be able to drink alcohol, others feel they might have to bear the financial burden and some are concerned they might have to change their diet. All of those are myths.
People who contribute to others in their work and outside of work make our communities better. Shull reached out to me after I wrote a few columns about Wardell, the former superior court judge and counsel for the Chelan County PUD who needs a live kidney donation.
Thankfully, Wardell is hanging in there while she awaits a suitable donor. “I’m still feeling the same so that’s a good thing,” Wardell wrote in an email, adding:
“I have some potential donors (not sure who they are except for those who have told me). We are at the point of doing “cross match” testing (compatibility of blood and antibodies). Hoping one is compatible. Virginia Mason will continue testing people until a match is found and there is no limit on the number of people who go through the first rounds of interviews and testing.”
There are others in our community in the same fight for their lives. Let’s do what we can for them by following Shull’s example. If you want to contact her, email email@example.com.
If you are interested in exploring being a live kidney donor, you can contact Virginia Mason at firstname.lastname@example.org, check out their web site at virginiamason.org/living-donation, or call their donor information line at (206) 341-1201.