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The gift of life

During the testing to become a kidney donor, Pastor Mike Cook of Philippi Christian Church in Deltaville learned that those who donate a kidney will be at the top of the list to receive a new one if their remaining kidney fails. “I’m a club member,” said Pastor Mike, whose agreeable attitude shines through. “There is no evidence that people who donate live shorter lives.”

Statistically, he’s more likely to die in a car crash, Pastor Mike added.

In May, Pastor Mike will give one of his kidneys to Betty Chenowith, a member of his congregation.

Lyle Predmore of Hardyville was tested to donate a kidney but was not a match. He said he had never considered donating, but kidney disease striking a friend caused him to reconsider. “If I’m willing to give to a friend, why wouldn’t I give to a stranger?” he asked.

A kidney donor must be under 70 years of age, which rules out many retirees.

Another consideration for donors is the six-week recovery period when they will not be able to work, noted Diane Lucas of Topping. “That’s a long time to go without pay. The financial aspect is an area that should be changed legislatively.”

Lucas also had volunteered to give Chenowith a kidney, but could not because of her blood pressure.

Lucas said she had the support of her family and was “extremely disappointed” when she could not donate. Lucas said that years ago she knew of a 9-year-old who died waiting for a kidney. “There was not a big question inside of me to donate.”

Chenowith said she heard sad stories of people who were dying and there was no one to donate a kidney. “It’s a shame more people don’t do it.”

This is a follow-up to the article Finding an Angel.

posted 04.03.2009

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