Mary has been working as a Legal Assistant with Assiff Law since 2019. Outside of work, she loves to spend time with her family, play competitive soccer, bake, travel to new places, and help others. Indeed, she made the selfless decision to save a life by donating one of their kidneys. Here’s her story, in her own words.
So, I’m doing a thing.
As some of you might know, I have spent quite some time now prepping to determine whether I’m a candidate for a living kidney donation. Now, after a year of rigorous preparation, countless tests and too many appointments to remember – it’s official. On March 17, 2021, the luck of the Irish will be with me as I donate my kidney to help save a life!
Right now, more than 50,000 Canadians are being treated for kidney failure, for which there is no cure, and one in ten Canadians live with kidney disease. That is FOUR. MILLION. PEOPLE. Treatment for kidney disease involves regular dialysis, but unfortunately, only 11% of those people being treated for kidney failure are actually on the waiting list, while 75% of them need one. So, it’s years of waiting… dialysis and waiting, dialysis and waiting. Many have been waiting for three, four, five years, even.
These statistics were burned into my brain – an unrelenting nagging in the back of my mind, reminding me that I could do something, that I could be a small part of the solution in the grander scale, but a massive part of the solution for one person.
I cannot imagine being a parent, sibling or friend of a person who has to go through this every day. Thankfully, I am not, but it inspired me to take action. That action involves me not only donating one of my kidneys but also raising awareness.
Responses to this have ranged from, “What?! Why? What if you need your other kidney one day?” to “Wow, that’s so cool, good for you!”
And this is where I land:
- It’s awful to need a kidney, but it’s really not that hard to donate one.
- It’s a simple, clear and effective way to help someone else through a procedure that’s of very low risk to me.
- I don’t think of this as a duty, but rather, a privilege. I’ve been so lucky with the cards life has dealt me, so I truly view it as an honour to share what I’ve been given.
If there is one thing I’ve realized during this process, we are ALL capable of contributing to causes bigger than ourselves. I’m not saying everyone needs to donate an organ, but we can all give a little more. It’s our choice every day to wake up and be kinder, more selfless, more charitable, more forgiving. We can choose to be so many things; why not choose to help others? If my story can help you wake up and decide to choose kindness through even the smallest acts, it’s a ripple effect that can branch out to so many others.
A couple of scars and a few weeks of discomfort are pale compared to years of dialysis, pain or even death. I don’t view it as an act of bravery; I don’t want to look back on my life and wish that I just did the damn thing. This is one hell of a life experience that I am privileged to take part in and honoured to do.
You can help, too!
If you are willing and able, I would love if you could donate $5, $10 or $20 to this cause! Any amount helps, and if you can’t help monetarily, there are so many other things you can do:
1. Register your intentions to be an organ donor, either on your healthcare card, driver’s license or through your provincial donor registry.
2. Although it’s not for everyone, think about living kidney donation! I know there aren’t many anonymous donors out there, but maybe this will give you the courage to explore the option.
3. Get informed. Know your risk for kidney disease and learn what you can do to treat kidney failure.