Becoming an organ donor is not usually something most people think about beyond checking a box on a driver’s license form. Many people are unaware that it is possible to be a living organ donor.
Kim Linkous, BSRT(R), an X-ray technologist at Bayhealth, began researching what living organ donation was after seeing a Facebook post about a woman who needed a kidney. The woman, who ran the animal rescue from which Linkous adopted her dog, was running out of options after finding out that no one in her family was a match.
Already on the national bone marrow registry and a regular blood and platelets donor, Linkous thought, “why not donate an organ, too?”
“I figured that if none of her family was a match, and I just so happened to be a match, that would be a sign from God that this was what I was supposed to do,” she said.
After finding out that she was a match, Linkous began the lengthy process of making sure her body was strong enough for the surgery. Before embarking on her donation journey, Linkous had started eating healthier foods and exercising more. Being healthier allowed her to help someone else in such a major way.
Although the transplant had to be delayed due to an influx of COVID-19 patients at the transplant hospital, once the surgery took place, both Linkous and the woman who received the kidney had successful surgeries. Although she had remained anonymous during the testing process, Linkous decided she wanted to see the woman whose life she helped save while they recovered at the hospital.
“The day after the surgery, my nurse took me in a wheelchair to her room,” Linkous said. “She burst into tears when she saw me.”
Linkous had to stay in the hospital for four days to ensure that she was adapting well to only having one kidney, but once she was released, she was able to recover at home for eight weeks.
“I believe in doing what I can to make others happy,” she said. “When I saw that post, I saw a single mom of high school aged children, and I wanted to do what I could to help her have a longer life with them. Who wouldn’t want to help save a life?”
A year after the surgery, Linkous met up with the kidney recipient to have dinner and celebrate the milestone. Both women are happy and healthy, with Linkous saying she has no lasting effects of donating her kidney. In fact, she said, she would do it again if she could.
“If you are given the chance to become a living donor, do it. You’re saving someone’s life,” she said. “You can help give them more time to spend with the people they love.”
Bayhealth honors Linkous for her deep commitment to helping others. Visit Bayhealth.org/Join to be part of a team who goes the extra mile for others and their peers. Visit https://www.giftoflife.org/ to learn more about living organ donations.
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