It’s funny how some moments seem hard to recall and then others have been embedded in our minds forever. I’ll never forget hugging my kidney transplant donor, Sally, on August 13, 2002 before they wheeled her off to the operating room. We held on to each other tightly with mixed emotions of hope and nervousness. That morning was full of excitement of the unknown. Wondering how my body would accept this gift and how our lives would be changed. The past 10 years have been so beautiful. This past Monday I honored my kidney donor by doing 10 acts of kindness, one for each amazing year of life she has given me.
I had a nonstop smile on this monumental day and my heart was overflowing with joy. With transplant having 10 letters, it seemed fitting to use that as the acronym for my 10 acts of kindness.
Here is a glimpse at my kindness adventures…
Thank my phlebotomist for being the best and give him a signed copy of my biography
I am very difficult to get blood from. My veins are tiny and they roll. I only have one good vein and it has so much scar tissue because of how many times it has been used. My current phlebotomist, Matt, is the best person I have ever had draw my blood. Knowing that I am not going to have any issues when I go to my monthly blood work is a huge weight off of my shoulders and he deserved to be recognized. I thanked him for his hard work and gave him a signed copy of my biography.
Reach out to a family at the American River and pay for their parking pass
The confluence at the American River is five minutes from where we live and we hike there a lot. Noah and I went down to the self-pay box and pulled out 10 parking fee envelopes. I put $10 in the 10th envelope along with a note and put all of them back in the slot. I wish I could see the person and their reaction when they fill out the front of the envelope and open it up to put their money in and see my note and $10. But that is all part of the fun; not knowing whose day this will impact.
An extra big tip to a wait staff in a restaurant during our anniversary dinner celebration
Noah and I ate at one of our favorite restaurants in Auburn, Tre Pazzi. We gave our waitress an extra big tip and it was really fun and felt good to do that. I hope she enjoys it and does something fun.
Nephrologist appreciation: stopped by to thank the entire team with some homemade goodies
My nephrologist, transplant coordinator and the office staff are wonderful. It was so great to stop in and celebrate my 10-year anniversary with them and they were very excited to receive my homemade goodies. I wanted them to know how great they are. Dr. Bhat, my nephrologist, said, “I look forward to seeing what you do to celebrate your 20th anniversary.” This put a huge smile on my face.
Stop by Sierra Donors Services and thank them with homemade pink donor dot cupcakes
This was such a fun stop for me. The energy at Sierra Donor Services is fabulous and had such a delightful visit. Everyone there was super excited it was my 10-year anniversary and loved the pink donor dot cupcakes. They gathered all of the staff together and we took some fun shots with the cupcakes. This visit was full of smiles and laughs.
Pay it forward
I went through the Starbucks drive thru and paid the bill for the people in the car behind me. The sun put a glare on their windshield and I was unable to see the people in the car. There were 3 drinks on the tab and I hope this act of kindness made them happy. I felt happy doing this, not knowing who received this act of kindness.
Let the staff at the Auburn Police Station know how much I appreciate them putting the donor dot sticker on their cop cars by personally thanking them and giving them homemade chocolate chip cookies
Yet another great visit. Linda at the Auburn Police Station was so nice and welcoming. I gave them homemade cupcakes and cookies and we took some fun photos by their cop cars. She called me the day after to let me know that everyone there really enjoyed the treats and said they were so good. Also, that the tins the cupcakes were in made for great hats for the police officers later that sunny day which, she joked, were much needed.
Ask someone interested in signing up to be an organ donor if I can help him or her register
A co-worker of mine, Patrick, read my biography and said that he never really thought about it before but he thinks he would like to be an organ donor. So, I asked if he would be interested in registering on my 10-year anniversary, and he happily agreed. This was such a great moment to share with him.
Notify my transplant surgeon of the momentous day and thank him for taking the risk to transplant me and playing a huge part in saving my life
I called my transplant surgeon, Dr. Robert Montgomery at Johns Hopkins, and talked to him on the phone. It was so wonderful to hear his voice and share memories that we have endured together. Hard for both of us to believe it has been 10 years. I was too sick to be put on the waiting list but needed a kidney to survive. Dr. Montgomery stepped forward and said that I needed a transplant to survive and took the risk and did the operation. That is what I needed to restore my health.
Ten pink roses to a stranger
I went into the DaVita Dialysis Center and introduced myself to the nurse and told her my story and why I was there. I asked if there was someone getting dialysis that doesn’t get visitors often and/or needed some inspiration. She introduced me to Rhonda and I gave her 10 pink roses and visited her for an hour while she was getting dialysis done. She made me cry when she told me that “God kept you here for a reason and it is so wonderful that you are doing what he had planned for you.” This was very rewarding and brought back a lot of memories. I was so thankful to walk out of the facility with a healthy kidney.
I shared with my kidney donor the random acts of kindness I was doing in her honor. She said she was so proud of me. I mailed a special present and anniversary card to her, as she lives in Pennsylvania. We talked on the phone on our momentous anniversary and it was so wonderful to hear her sweet voice. I told her how much I love her and appreciate her gift. I wish I could have given her a big hug.
It was so rewarding to spend the afternoon running around and doing acts of kindness for others. I wish I could make a living doing this, every day. It was a day I will always treasure.
What kind of random acts of kindness have you done, or someone has done for you – and what can you do today for someone to make their day?