The Gift of Life: Interview With My Donor

Sally & ValenI love that my living kidney donor, Sally Robertson, has been a part of my life since I was in 8th grade. I will always be in awe and forever grateful for Sally’s selflessness and gift of life. Not everyone knows who his or her donor is, nor communicates with them. I treasure that I not only know my donor, but share an indescribable bond with her. We are able to celebrate milestones together, like our upcoming 14-year transplant anniversary in August. In honor of National Donate Life Month, Sally answered a few questions about being a kidney donor and our organ donation journey.

Valen: What compelled you to get tested to see if you could be my donor?

In 8th grade with Sally's daughter EmilySally: You were a very dear friend of my daughter, Emily, and it was very difficult to watch you go through so much pain at such a young age, and not be able to help. I asked Emily if a transplant was an option, but she did not know if you would be eligible. I knew in my heart that the Lord was leading me to speak to your family about this and that He would make a way for this to happen, and He did!

Valen: How did you feel when you got “the call” that you were a match?

Sally: It was like Christmas morning to a child! I was so excited, humbled and in awe that I was a match and could not wait to call you and tell you the great news!

Valen: What was your biggest fear?

Sally: The thought that your body might reject the kidney scared me, but I knew this was part of the Lord’s plan and I needed to just continue to trust Him. He already had the answers to many of my questions and fears!

Valen-and-Sally-square_FB
Valen:
What has been your favorite part of our organ donation journey?

Sally: By far, my favorite part of this journey has been to watch you live your life in such a beautiful way and get to experience so many things that you may never have had the opportunity to experience otherwise.

Valen: What thoughts would you share with someone considering being a living kidney donor and/or organ donor?

Sally: You can do this. Don’t be afraid to say YES! Take this step and share yourself with someone in a way that will teach you what love is really all about.” Greater love has no one than this; that someone lay down his life for his friends.” You will be so very blessed!

I hope our journey inspires people to register to be an organ donor and consider being a living kidney donor. Register today at donatelife.net. For more information on living kidney donation, visit: unos.org/donation/living-donation/

Do you know who your organ donor is? If so, please share your story and connection to your donor.

6 Comments

  1. Jan

    I haven’t had the blessing of knowing either of my donors or their families, but am so very happy that you have wonderful Sally in your life and that because of her precious gift, not only did she save your life but have given you the chance to be the amazing warrior and advocate that you are To Believe is to know that everyday is a new beginning, it is to trust that miracles happen and dreams really do come true . Thankyou Sally from a very grateful recipient myself. Our donors are our angels and our heroes. xo

    Reply
    • Valen Keefer

      Thank you so much for sharing your heartfelt sentiments, Jan! Your donors would be so proud of the amazing life you are leading, your kind soul and all you do for others. I’m grateful to have you in my life. Your love and support means so much! xoxo

      Reply
  2. Timothy McCormack

    I love reading Valen’s posts on PKD Connection. I have to admit most of the posts gets me a little froggy in the throat. Maybe because they hit so close to home for me.
    For me I get to kiss my donor and tell her how much I love her everyday. We will celebrate our nine year transplant anniversary in November. It’s been the difference in being alive and actually living.

    Reply
    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Timothy,

      It really means so much to know that you enjoy and can connect with my blogs.
      So happy you can share your life with the woman who gave you a second chance. Your last sentence is beautifully said and really touched me. Thank you for sharing! I wish you and your love and lifesaver all the best!

      Reply
  3. Margaret Cielinski

    Beautiful thoughts that help set my mind at ease. My kidney transplant for PKD is April 26th and my older daughter is the donor. I worry for her, but I am also trying to put that aside and have a stronger faith in the Almighty’s plans for us. Thank you for sharing your journey … it is inspiring and bring a certain peace in my heart. Stay well ladies and God Bless you both!

    Reply
    • Valen Keefer

      Dear Margaret,

      My heart is happy knowing that my donor and I were able to provide some peace as you approach your transplant surgery in a few days. Wishing you and your daughter all the best as you embark on this next chapter in your journey. When you’re feeling up to it after your surgery, I’d love to hear how the two of you are doing. Hugs!

      Reply

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