At ShoreBread, we strive to discover and present our readers with the’ feel good’ stories…the stories that have a happy ending, support local, or bring awareness to the positive aspects of life here on the shore. Roughly one year ago, we decided to share the story of a local man who was looking to the community for a kidney donor match. Craig Lynch reluctantly shared his story with the public in hopes that someone would step forward as a living kidney donor. While almost one-year has passed, we are happy to report that one of our readers was in fact a match and choose to be a living donor for Lynch. The surgery took place a few weeks ago and has been successful so far. We decided to delve a little further into the topic of living kidney donation this week, in order to get a better idea of the scope and scale of becoming a living kidney donor.

“I have always been an organ donor on my license, but I had never thought about live organ donation before reading the article about Craig,” explained Kim Parsons in an interview earlier this week. “The process of becoming an organ donor was very simple. University of Maryland mailed me a blood sample kit. I was able to go locally for the first initial tests, and then I went to Baltimore for the donor testing. Within a few weeks, we were headed to surgery.”

According to the National Kidney Foundation, thanks to improvements in medications, a genetic link between the donor and the recipient is no longer required to ensure a successful transplant, which allows for living donations from strangers to be possible. While the most common living donor is the kidney, parts of other organs and tissues including the lung, liver, and pancreas can be transplanted from living donors. Of course to donate, you must be in good health and have normal kidney function. It is also important to note that by law, donors cannot be financially compensated, as it is illegal to receive money or gifts for an organ donation; however, there is no cost to the donor.

“The surgery went smoothly and I was home in two days,” explained Parsons. “I have a simple incision through my belly button. I had some swelling and pain, but it’s gradually decreasing.”

When we first reported Lynch’s story last year, we spoke with another living kidney donor about the donor process. At that time, Dan Taglienti told us, “I did it for my father and I don’t have an ounce of regret. It is something that makes a person feel unique if not special. After doing it, if I knew someone in dire need I would do it again (of course, you can only do it once though). If you know a friend or loved one, take a shot, see if you are a match, and maybe join the special fraternity of being a living organ donor.”

For some more quick facts on being a living donor, we also looked to the UNOS, the United Network for Organ Sharing. According to UNOS, people of all ages and medical histories can be potential donors. What’s more, a national computer system and strict standards are in place to ensure ethical and fair distribution of organs. Information about an organ donor is only released to the recipient if the donor agrees, allowing for anonymous donations to take place.

“Advice to potential donors…don’t stress!” said Parsons.

For more information on kidney donation, there is a wealth of information available through the University of Maryland Medical Center and the National Kidney Foundation.