Even though it’s been over 18 months since I donated, I’m still filled with emotion and overwhelmed whenever there is an event, especially at the Mayo Clinic. At the beginning, when they mention the various staff members, doctors, nurses, and advocates, I always start to cry. Some of those people were there for me – and still are – every step of the way.
The best part, though, is seeing the other donors who I’ve met through this whole process. One woman, Cindy, I met at my very last appointment at the Living Donor Network. We started talking about donating the next week, and when I asked her which day, it was the same day as our surgery. In fact, she donated two hours before me! It was a chance meeting, but destiny. I remember her coming to my room, the next morning after our surgeries, and I knew I’d be ok. She was up walking around and I was about to take my first walk. She looked so amazing and it made me feel so much better.
I also saw a friend who had two family members go through it last year.
Then, there was Rebecca. She started to follow me on Twitter after seeing our story on the news. She had a very sick aunt, and by me talking about it so much, she decided to take the plunge! She just donated 6 months ago. I went to the hospital that morning to hang out with all her family members while the surgery took place. I was so proud that someone else made such an important decision, but more than anything, I was so glad people were asking me questions about how she would do after the surgery.
People get sick of me talking about it. People say I did it for publicity. Guess what? THIS is the result of all that publicity (some of which was grueling!). THIS is why I have to make this film.