Back in 2011, when my dad received a lifesaving liver transplant, we met the Goralski Family. The transplant floor isn’t that big, so as you walk the post surgery laps around the floor, you run into other people doing the same thing. That’s where we met Josh, a teenager who had just donated a kidney to his dad, Mark. They were a few doors down the hall from my family and they became our friends.
Fast forward to September 2018… Mark passed away. Josh’s kidney gave him a new lease on life, but the nature of transplants is such that it’s really common to need a second transplant. Mark had 2 daughters, Bethany and Hannah, ready to donate a kidney, but wasn’t quite healthy enough to be eligible for a second transplant. Had he been healthy enough, it may have been possible for his daughters to donate, but sadly it just wasn’t in the cards.
This past March, Bethany and Hannah BOTH donated their kidneys to strangers 1 day apart, to honor their father. They both started transplant chains that are still in process. This means their gift still has tremendous momentum, there are upcoming transplants happening that is a direct result of their donations. AND I AM SO DARN PROUD OF THEM!
I am so grateful that these are the peeps that were put on my path. Between our 2 families, we have been there for each other through 2 transplants (Dan and Mark), and 4 kidney donations (Josh, me, Hannah, Bethany). That’s a special bond, and a lot of organ sharing.
Today, Northwestern organized for all of the people in the transplant chain (so far, there are more to come), to meet in person live, in front of the press, and I got to be there! I got to watch my friends meet their kidney recipients for the first time. It was a privilege to bear witness.
10 brave strangers, bound for life.
Well done Bethany and Hannah!!