April 2, 2012

A Good Investment.

Alex is donating his kidney this week. Meaning the left kidney resting cozily in his body is going to be sucked out and put into a body that needs it. It was supposed to go to his dear friend and colleague Art, but after learning that Art would be better off with a closer match, Alex had the option of donating his kidney to a “bank.” Basically, if Alex donated his kidney to the bank and a chain of people donated their kidneys to the bank, there was a better chance that each person along the way could receive a kidney that was a perfect match.

It worked. On early Wednesday morning, in hospitals around the country, there are 8 people who will be giving or receiving their kidney.  Alex’s kidney will be on a jet to Virginia, and Art will be receiving one from Pennsylvania later that day.

It’s been a year in the making, months of testing and phone calls and delays and anticipations and more delays.

Alex, in his ever-endearing nonchalance, doesn’t think it’s a big deal. His usual response amounts to, “I have two kidneys. I only need one. Someone else needs one, so I’ll give mine away.”

I mean, duh?

Sure, there are consequences to the surgery for Alex. He has to inhale some laughing gas for a few hours, eat hospital jello for three days, endure the pain that most women feel after a C-section (perhaps something all men should go through?), sit on the couch for two weeks while playing on his mom’s ipad, and bear the at-times exhausting and painful effects of one kidney taking on a two-kidney job. But there have been worse things.  

The irony is that Al’s kidney donation has not seemed sacrificial. Rather, it’s been a huge gift in our lives. We have formed intimate relationships with Art and his family. We have been moved to tears at their strength and gratitude. We have looked forward to this day as a day of celebration of thanksgiving.

That’s the irony about giving. Just when you think you’re giving something up, you realize you’re getting something more in return. If that’s not a good investment, I don’t know what is.

I don't know much about the stock market. But I do know that investing in giving guarantees huge returns.  


  1. it really is the biggest gift. I am still in awe of Al's willingness to donate his kidney. It's incredible. I'll be thinking about Al and his kidney and the other givers and receivers. miss you!

  2. Prayers for Alex and also all the folks who will benefit from these very generous deeds. I love the big hearts we see in others close to us. This act of generosity is reminder to all of us what's truly important in this life. You make a lot of people pround, Alex! Lisa xoxo

  3. Kerry,

    What an incredible selfless gift. I have no doubts that Roger is watching over him saying..."that's my son".

    You are in my prayers. Much love to you both,
    Donna Lang Arenschield

  4. Thank you all for the well wishes. Alex is recovering as we speak and getting stronger each day. Love to all.