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SMPS CT Member Post: Why I became a Living Organ Donor

By: Victoria Pancoast

People keep saying “Give one of my kidneys? I don’t think I could do that!” or “Maybe I would do it if it was for a relative, but I am not really sure.” It’s not something I ever thought about doing either, until Deb, a member of my church and friend of the family, had been added to the transplant list at Yale New Haven Hospital in the summer of 2017. I knew that she had been on kidney dialysis three times a week for the last few years. I thought, ‘what kind of quality of life is that?’ and I figured since my blood type is O-negative that maybe I should look into becoming a donor. I had never had major surgery and I didn’t know anything about kidney donation. To be honest, I didn’t even know where my kidneys were located! They weren’t something I ever thought about. 

My husband and kids were a bit hesitant at first, but once I really started considering it, God made it clear that it was something I was meant to do. Literally the day after I told my husband and kids that I was considering being tested, we went to a wedding and sat next to a woman who told us that the bride’s mother had given her a kidney. I hadn’t even mentioned anything about Deb and what I was thinking of doing. I looked at my husband and said, "That’s a sign. I’m supposed to do this.”

I went through a series of phone interviews, tests and then a full day at the hospital to make sure I was physically and psychologically ready to donate. It was a fascinating process and ultimately, I was approved as a match. The team at Yale New Haven Hospital was fantastic and our surgery on February 6th was a success. The day after the surgery, Deb’s surgeon told me that it typically takes 5-7 years for a patient on the transplant list to receive a kidney and there was no guarantee that she would have survived the wait. The photo of Deb and I posted with this blog was taken 3 weeks post-surgery. We have both been feeling great! 

Recently the company I work for, Arcadis, announced that they are building a “People First” culture. A culture where integrity matters, and individuals are valued for who they are. I love that Arcadis values people and improving the quality of life. I truly feel that helping people is what we were created to do. I am so happy that I was a match for the recipient and able to help improve someone’s life through the kidney transplant. I encourage everyone to put people first and look for ways to collectively help one another.

Blog post originally posted on Victoria's LinkedIn profile.


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