Issue No. 19
Match MakerDate: January 17, 2013
John Cosby couldn’t donate a kidney to his son. But, with the help of Johns Hopkins, he made a donation possible.
When we found out our 19-year-old son, Sam, was in end-stage kidney failure, my wife and I felt as if we’d been hit by a truck. We didn’t want our son’s life to be limited by being on dialysis for the rest of his life.
When physicians at Johns Hopkins told us a kidney transplant was an option, I said right away I’d be a donor. I went through all the blood tests and everything and was devastated to learn I wasn’t the right match for my son.
Then they told us about their paired donation program. It’s for people like me who are willing to donate a kidney but aren’t a match for a particular recipient. I agreed to donate a kidney to someone I was a match for, and someone else agreed to donate a kidney to Sam.
I’ll never forget walking into Sam’s hospital room after his transplant and seeing him with this big smile on his face. He was already doing better, and he’s been in great shape ever since. He’s now an active 22-year-old who is back to doing what he loves: snowboarding.
I donated my kidney later, when it was needed for someone else. The operation wasn’t that big of a deal for me. I went into the hospital on a Tuesday and was back at work the following Monday.
Most parents would do anything to help one of their kids. I do have a certain sense of pride knowing that Sam is thriving because Johns Hopkins enabled a stranger and me to give my son the kidney he needed.
The Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center has one of the largest, most well-established kidney transplant programs in the country. About half of its 225 yearly kidney transplants are from live donors, and a program for living liver donors is rapidly expanding.
Live kidney donations are optimal for the recipients, and much easier on the donors than they used to be, thanks to minimally invasive surgical procedures.
To find out whether you are a match to a particular recipient, you’ll start with an evaluation that includes blood and tissue tests. If the results are positive, you’ll meet with a transplant physician to discuss the surgery and risks. Donors are given the same care and considerations as recipients.
To watch a video of John Cosby telling his story, visit hopkinsmedicine.org/mystory. For more information, appointments or consultations, call 877-546-1872.