In late April 2017, an amazing and compassionate woman approached the Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, IL and offered to donate one of her kidneys to a total stranger. This woman’s generosity started the first-ever ‘transplant chain’ at Memorial that ultimately involved eight patients and provided kidneys to four people. This is the story of Misty Shaw, 49, of Springfield.
On September 19th, Misty donated her kidney to a woman who now has the chance for a longer life and can end the rigorous process of dialysis she had undergone the previous 2 ½ years. The husband of the woman who received Misty’s kidney then donated one of his to a …
young man with kidney failure. A friend of this young man in turn donated a kidney to a retired teacher. A sister-in-law of the retired teacher was the last donor in the transplant chain and a retired corporate safety officer received her generous gift of a kidney.
“This is really a profound moment in the history of our transplant center,” said Dr. Marc Garfinkel, surgical director of the Alan G. Birtch, MD, Center for Transplant Services at Memorial Medical Center. None of the donors knew the identity of his or her recipient at the time of the surgeries, but six of the eight patients involved in the living donor transplant chain met for the first time on June 20, 2018 in a private meeting in the Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation (MCLL) on Memorial’s campus.
One of the recipients said, “I was so overwhelmed, I wanted to cry. It’s such a wonderful feeling to know someone you don’t know would give up a part of themselves to benefit you.” I had the privilege of interviewing Misty for this story, and I’m still in awe of her unselfish generosity. Misty said, “A lot of people have asked me why, and my response was ‘Why not?’ It’s something that isn’t hard to do, but it benefits someone who really needs it.”
Although I’ve made a few donations in my life to help others, these would generally consist of time, money, meals, or personal possessions. Not once did I ever consider donating one of my kidneys. Misty – you have my utmost respect and admiration! With the holiday season rapidly approaching, are you making plans for donations to your favorite charities or passionate causes? A new motto to consider: “Be generous! Be like Misty!”