Posted on Apr 5, 2010 in A Donation Story, First Post | 0 comments


I’d like to dedicate my first blog to the memory of someone who helped me along my journey to become a living donor. Her name is Cathy. She helped me more than she probably ever knew. I had hoped she would understand and see what she did for me when she read my book.

But, it’s not going to happen that way. Most of life turns out like that – different from the way we expect it to be.

Cathy died in her sleep last week at the age of forty-six. Do you suppose they read blogs in heaven? I know with every fiber of my being that is where she is now. There were many wonderful qualities in Cathy. One of the most astounding qualities she had was the quiet dignity I saw in her when I poured out my worries to her while I tried to decide if I should be a living donor.

Years ago, Cathy donated one of her kidneys to her brother, who suffered from a kidney disease different from our family’s genetic polycystic kidney disease. Sadly, Cathy later developed the same disease as her brother. When she needed a kidney, her husband, Rich, gave her one of his.

My sister, Janice, put me in touch with them when I was doing all that whining and worrying on whether to be a living kidney donor. Cathy didn’t whine once when she told me her story. With quiet courage and not an ounce of self-pity, Cathy told me about her challenges. Rich and Cathy’s love for each other and their stoic bravery stopped me in my tracks. There is a comical scene in my book about Rich’s experience with a nurse trying to get him out of bed after his surgery to become a living donor.

Through the years, we have gotten to know them better because of the National Kidney Foundation’s US Transplant Games. Athletes with transplanted organs and/or tissue compete against each other. The US Games have teams from various states. Cathy and Rich were on Team Illinois with the rest of my family. Team Illinois became one big family, looking out for each other, helping each other, cheering for each other. Our team uniforms were orange one year. Cathy, held up her bright orange shirt, and exclaimed, “I’ll look like a pumpkin!” Cathy, a seasoned athlete, reassuring my sister, JoAnn, who was nervous as a new athlete in her first Games. Cathy, fussing over my elderly dad, always thoughtful and considerate. Cathy, a devoted friend of my sister, Janice. Cathy, who sent in a nomination for me for the Living Donor Council. Cathy, who JoAnn proclaimed as our adopted sister.

Cathy, may you rest in peace where there is no disease, pain or sorrow. God bless you for your goodness.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *