Emmet Davitt and his wife Julie knew that family friend Sean Menard, 10, needed a kidney to avoid going on dialysis. Although neither Emmet or Julie were a match for Sean, the UMMC transplant team asked Emmet if he would be part of a multi-donor exchange that would result in Sean's getting a kidney. Here is Emmet's story:
(How do you know Sean and his family?) My wife worked with Sean as a teachers' aide when Sean was in kindergarten. The Menards are also in our church.
(What led you to do this?) When we found out that Sean needed a kidney, my wife Julie and I wanted to help. Although we weren?t a match to donate to him, they asked me if I?d be part of a multi-donor exchange, through which Sean would get a kidney. I have four kids, nine siblings and 36 nieces and nephews, all of whom are healthy, so I consider myself very fortunate. So many times in life you think about doing something like this and the moment passes. I didn?t want to let that happen and have Sean go on dialysis. The fact that by being a part of this exchange four sick people received a kidney gives me goose bumps.
(What happened next?) My wife and I started doing some research on what was involved in being a kidney donor. The University of Maryland Center Web site was very helpful. It has a lot of good information, and we watched the video which discusses living kidney donation in detail. Knowing that Maryland had done so many living kidney removals made me feel good, and got me excited about donating.
(What did you think when you found out your kidney was removed through a single incision in your belly button?) I was amazed. The whole process is fascinating, and the fact that I can be back at work in a week or so after the surgery is great.
(What would you say to others who may be thinking about kidney donation?) It?s not something to jump into. Do your research before making a decision. For me, it?s been a fantastic experience, and both my work and my wife were very supportive.
(Anything else to add?) I had several people approach me in the weeks before my surgery saying that they are thinking about donating a kidney, in part because of what I was doing, which is a great thing. Plus, my kids, who are 16, 14, 12 and 10, thought it was cool I was doing this.