Republic kidney transplant recipient meets her donor
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), nearly 115,000 people are waiting for an organ, and a new person joins the list every ten minutes. One organ donor can save up to eight lives. One of those lives that was saved recently was Beth Larsen.
"It was a crazy time because I went from being perfectly healthy," Beth Larsen said.
Beth Larsen's life changed forever when she was diagnosed with kidney failure. This is a disease that rarely has visible symptoms at first.
"It was a crazy time because I went from being perfectly healthy. I just started dating my now husband, and so I thought life was good," Larsen said.
After months of waiting, and a close call where when was second in line the for a transplant, her phone rang. It Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis saying that it was her turn for a transplant, just 3 days before her wedding day.
"I saw on the phone they're calling, and my heart was like, "It's so close to my wedding, but this is so important." So, I answered and she was like, "You have a match, it's an altruistic donor," so I was like, "What's the catch?"" said Larsen.
There was no catch except that Beth had to wait 6 months before she could contact her donor. Not only have they made contact, but thanks to some coordination with Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, they met in person to throw out the first pitch at a St. Louis Cardinals game on Transplant awareness day.
"I'm very nervous to meet him, but I'm also nervous for that first pitch because I've definitely got to warm up some. I don't know, it could go anywhere!" Larsen said.
She says she'll always be thankful to all the donors who helped this process go smoothly.
"I had plasma treatments, I had blood transfusions. So, while making sure donor awareness is out there, and hopefully leading to more organ donations through this from living, altruistic donors. It's also great because people who went out and donated blood and plasma have also affected me and where I am today. I'm thankful for everyone who has been out there donating. It's definitely worked. And it was needed in my case. And I know there's probably millions more."
Donations to save a life can be as easy as donating blood to organizations like the Red Cross. To register to be a donor, visit organdonor.gov or registerme.org. For more information on becoming a living kidney donor, you can visit Barnes-Jewish.org/transplant or https://www.americantransplantfoundation.org/about-transplant/living-donation/becoming-a-living-donor.