What to Expect As A Living Kidney Donor

- My name is Rene Bruens.

A little over a year ago, I donated a kidney.

I was at the gym one day,

and I saw a vehicle there that had a decal

on there saying this person needed a kidney,

and I figured if I was a match then it was meant to be

to give this stranger my kidney.

I would say the coordinator is your lifeline.

The first time that I heard from her was

after I'd sent the box in the mail with my blood work.

I got to ask her one million questions

that I wanted to ask her and she was very patient with me.

- Living donation is a very involved process.

Our goal and our team here

is to focus on the donor as the patient.

It can take months.

It can take multiple visits to Vanderbilt,

and even after all that, there's no guarantee

that you're gonna be deemed

an appropriate or safe candidate,

'cause our goal is your safety as the donor.

We coordinate all of the testing that's required,

blood testing and compatibility.

We have donor advocates,

we have our transplant psychiatrist,

that all help us evaluate these donors

and make sure that donation is gonna be safe,

not only physically but mentally

and emotionally for them too.

- Everyone else in your life is bias one way or another.

Obviously, my recipient is, my family, my kids, my husband.

But she was the one person that I could call in ask

to just give me the facts,

and just tell me the answers that I needed to know,

and be a listening ear.

I don't want anyone to think

that everything's just pain free and perfect.

I mean, that was a rough couple of weeks,

but it's a rough couple of weeks in my life,

and now, look at his life.

He's having an amazing life.

So could I spare a couple of weeks?

Yeah, I think we all could.

(gentle music)