Franciscan Gains Life Lessons by Being a Living Kidney Donor
CINCINNATIBeing an organ donor is a hugely beneficial form of giving, but it's not usually fulfilling. We cannot
usually reap the satisfaction of helping another when we donate our hearts,
lungs, corneas, skin and muscles. Patrick Sullivan, O.F.M.Cap., of New York,
wasn't completely satisfied when he agreed, in the 70s, to be just an organ
donor. In 2001, after reading an article in The New York Times Magazine
about the need for kidneys and how many people die while on the waiting list,
Father Patrick decided not to wait until death to give life.
The giving spirit of Father Kevin is featured in the April issue of St. Anthony
Messenger in an article entitled, "I'd Like to Say: Why I Became a Living
Kidney Donor." Father Kevin details his experience with organ donation and how
vital it is for us to give, before or after death. After March 21, the article
will be posted at: AmericanCatholic.org.
God was generous in giving us two kidneys. If one is removed, the other grows a
bit, picks up the slack and does the job. Although surgery always carries
Kevin shelved his fears and gave of himselfliterally. I was faced with some alarming facts about
the selling of donor organs and the number of people who die while waiting for
transplants," Father Kevin says. "Since I was in great health, I probably could
live without one of my kidneys."
And some recipients cannot wait. Many who are on a kidney transplant list spend two or three years
on dialysis. Some people die waiting. The more desperate often turn to brokers,
who send them to foreign countries to do business with poor people willing to
sell their organs. Most living donors give to a relative, which can be an
Father Kevin went through the proper channels to donate. After physical and psychological testing, he was approved to be a
donor. A recipient who would be a good match was found. After the surgery,
Father Kevin was sore and groggy, but deeply satisfied that his kidney would be
in a welcome place. Within a week, Father Kevin was up and around, celebrating
Mass, happy in the knowledge that the recipient of his kidney is alive and
well. Since the operation, Father Kevin has met other living kidney donors, who
each share in his advocacy, his passion and his joy in helping others.
Now Father Kevin sees life with different eyes. When celebrating Mass, the words now take on new
meaning for the generous friar. "I could barely get the words out when it came
time to say again, 'This is my body which will be given up for you.
This is the
cup of my blood
It will be shed for you.' It meant something more to me now."
granted to reprint this release.