Lynn was no stranger to organ transplants and donation when she learned that her sister was in need of a kidney. Lynn’s father was a kidney recipient, so the family had been through the process years before. Both her father and her sister, Valarie, suffer from different non-hereditary issues.
Lynn was initially tested to be an organ donor almost nine years before Valerie knew she would need a kidney. When the news came about, Lynn already knew that she was a match for her sister.
In December of 1997, Valerie was in need of a kidney, and Lynn was reluctant to donate at first. Lynn had just started dating someone (who is now her husband), and was worried about how she would be able to take care of herself after surgery. Lynn made the decision to donate after her boyfriend and 20 of her friends surprised her with a party called “Goodbye, Kidney!” and came up with a schedule of who would take care of Lynn and when.
In May of 1998, Lynn gave the gift of a kidney to her sister Valerie. Lynn’s surgery was the first microscopic naphrectomy (removal of a kidney) performed in Pittsburgh.
Lynn wasn’t nervous. “It was something I really didn’t think twice about,” Lynn says. She was more nervous the night before the surgery, when her boyfriend met her family for the first time.
The kidney that Lynn donated to her sister lasted for six years. Valerie has since had two more kidney transplant because her body produces an antibody that rejects the kidneys.
Lynn was happy to donate to her sister, believing that extending her life – no matter how long or short it might be – was worth it all.
Lynn knows that she made a wonderful decision when she chose to give the Gift of Life, and is always encouraging others to make a difference.
Lynn wants to see more awareness about living donation as well as paired donations. She believes that the more publicity about living donation, the better the outcome will be!