Despite a "lifelong aversion to needles and anything medical," Ann Beasley was eager to donate a kidney when she learned her husband, Jerry, needed a kidney transplant. Then she learned their blood types didn't match, and further, that Jerry's type O blood would limit available candidates.
Anxious about their options, the couple went to Mayo Clinic for help, in part because they learned that Mayo specializes in a procedure called ABO incompatible kidney transplant. His doctors told Jerry that a kidney from a matching blood type is preferable, but if a suitable match can't be located in time, the procedure would allow Ann to donate her kidney to Jerry.
"Donating to Jerry was the most natural thing," says Ann. "He and I had no fear. We share a strong faith in God and just had a good feeling all along that everything would work out."
And, in fact, Ann describes her surgery as a "piece of cake." She spent two nights in the hospital after the transplant and resumed walking for exercise a week later.
"I can't tell I'm missing a kidney," says Ann. "I read once that God gives you two kidneys so you can keep one and give one away. Our lives are so normal now that I have to stop and remind myself about the transplant."
Jerry and Ann are now advocates for organ donation, and they don't miss an opportunity to share their experience and encourage others to talk with their loved ones about donor options.
"I feel very strongly about spreading the word about incompatible kidney transplants," says Ann. "So many people are dying while waiting for a transplant when a family member or friend could step forward, if they knew. I'd do it all over again in a skinny minute."Posted by Margaret Shepard