The Greatest Gift of All

Sometimes we learn things where we least expect them.  This week a colleague of mine gave the greatest gift of all – the gift of life – and not to a family member or friend, but to a stranger in need – by donating her kidney.   An email went out to our staff that someone knew someone who was in need of a new kidney.  Her kidneys were down to 14% functioning, and it needed to happen soon.  This person, “Rebecca,” decided to take her life in her own hands and started a blog, put up billboards, and told everyone she knew about her search.   As an adoptive parent who had to do the same thing 26 years ago, I know how hard that is to do.

My colleague Karen was thinking about it, then passed a billboard and said I have to be tested, I want to do this.  She spoke with her husband and family, got their agreement, and found out she was one of three that was a match.  She was the best candidate to do this. She  talked to our boss who worked with her to arrange the leave.  Yesterday morning one kidney was removed, in perfect condition, and implanted in the recipient.  They never met, although saw each other in the waiting room at the hospital.  And now my colleague will take a few weeks to recover and come back to work.

So many lessons here about what’s truly important in life, taking matters into ones’ own hands, and selflessness.  How many of us would give up a healthy organ for someone we love, let alone a complete stranger?  What would you do if your life was on the line?  Would you do the campaign that “Rebecca” did?   And what about my colleague – what would you do for a stranger?  At the very least if you haven’t donated blood lately, go out and do so.    It’s in strong demand right now, especially with the rough winter we have all had.

In these days when you read so much about people either struggling or thinking only of themselves, it is refreshing to not only read about but to know someone who live their values in this way.  May you be blessed Karen, and may there be more Karen’s in this world.




About hprager

Father, husband, brother and son. Delighted to be friends and mentor to so many wonderful people. Passionate about: leadership, learning and development, education, nature and the environment, youth, music, jazz, the tuba, Israeli dancing, networking and helping others, humor, laughter, swimming, hiking, the Cubs, Northwestern athletics, theater, musicals, concerts, traveling and making new friends wherever I go. Helping the world be a better place when I leave it.
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