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Bern's Story

Making a living donation to a stranger makes you a superhero.
When she was a teenager, my sister discovered that she had a malformed bladder. Her urine was backing up into her kidneys, and they stopped working. At 21, she received a kidney from an unknown deceased donor. Thanks to that donation, she went on to have two beautiful children, and her graft lasted 27 years. Last year, when we found out that it had reached the end of its life, I offered to be a living donor. The procedure was a huge success for both of us, and we both returned home only days after the operation, relieved and reassured.

Ever since, I’ve been telling myself that I had to share the experience with you as a way of answering a vitally important question: Should we make a living donation?

To answer the question, let me tell you how life has been since the kidney donation process started. Of course, my family and friends are proud of me.

But what’s most striking is the reaction I’ve received from people we don’t even know. Since the beginning, every word, action, look, hug or bit of care I received has been comparable to a hero’s reception. I have to admit that it’s extremely gratifying to sense all the recognition and positive energy. If you think about it, I received an incredible gift from my sister! Would I have done the same for a total stranger? Today, having had this amazing experience, my answer would be yes.

For those of you who are healthy, take a few minutes, close your eyes and imagine having a discussion one morning with your favourite barista about why you haven’t shown up for the past few days. It’s because of your recent organ donation. “That’s right, it gave someone else a new lease on life.” Now imagine how that person would react. Do you see what I mean? Let’s be frank: making a living donation to a stranger makes you a superhero.

If you’re someone who’s rather reserved, take a few minutes to sign the Organ and Tissue Donation Form you received when you renewed your health insurance card. To make sure your decision is honoured and your consent officially registered, get your name on the organ donor consent registry. And above all, tell everyone you know about it! You can’t imagine how much good it’ll bring! My sister has been raving about her first transplant (and the donor) for 28 years!

So many sick people are desperately waiting for your selfless act. Go ahead, make a difference! It feels so, so good!