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Mickey – Kidney Recipient

Little describes better my appreciation for organ donation, its proponents, and families who make it possible than a letter I composed shortly after my kidney transplant. The purpose of the letter was to express my gratitude to the family of a young woman whose death nearly three years ago made available to me the incredible gift of life. My thanks to Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates for offering me this opportunity to share with others the personal significance of the goodness and unselfishness of that family.

Dear Kidney Donor Family:

I write to express my profound gratitude for the life-changing gift that your generosity and thoughtfulness has provided. The kidney transplant has given me a second chance to experience a normal life, free of the rigors of hemodialysis. My wife and twin sons also want you to know how grateful they are.

For 20 long months, I awoke at 4 a.m. three days a week to prepare for my 5:30 a.m. dialysis sessions. The sessions were exhausting and challenging, and appeared to be never-ending. Your gift brought that to a conclusion.

I realize that because of the passing of your loved one, the transplant was made possible. And I know your loss is of a magnitude that few of us can comprehend. Please know that because of the transplant and your gracious gesture, another life was prolonged and possibly saved. Again, thank you.

One of the things I hope to resume as a result of the transplant is my passion for writing. I spent more than 33 years as a reporter, editor and general manager for daily newspapers in the Midwest and South, before chronic kidney disease and kidney cancer forced me into early retirement nearly three years ago. I simply lost my energy and my drive to write after I became ill. I already am experiencing a renewed desire to get back to the keyboard.

The kidney started working almost immediately, and it and I seem to be adjusting well to one another. I promise to take care of it.

I’d like you to know, too, that the transplant team at Charleston Area Medical Center respected your privacy, and protected your anonymity. I was advised only that the kidney came from a young woman. The transplant team is excellent and works extremely hard to make certain the patients in its care do everything to nurture and protect the precious gifts they receive.

Please let me thank you once again for helping me return to a life that I wasn’t sure I would ever see again. It is truly a miracle.

With great affection and sincere regard,

Mickey Johnson