(Huntington Station, NY) – Receiving a kidney transplant gives those with kidney failure a second chance at life, but you rarely hear how those that donate their kidneys also have their lives forever changed.
Chris M., 38, from Huntington Station, NY, knew his life would go on a different path the moment he heard that his best friend’s kidneys were starting to fail.
“The day he told me he was going to start dialysis, I picked up the phone and called the hospital to see if I could be a donor,” Chris said.
Chris, who has worked as a Hip Hop DJ and On-Air Personality for Sirus XM and groups such as Naughty by Nature, was suddenly thrust into a new world of tests, physicals, nurses and medical jargon. Eventually, it was determined that Chris was a perfect match for his friend. Nine months after his first call to the hospital, Chris donated his kidney.
“I was the only person to get tested and I was a match,” Chris said. “The thing I remember most happened just before the surgery; I met a man who had been waiting four years for a kidney. He had tested with six family members and 20 other people and no one was ever a match. That made me realize how lucky we were. “
The ability to give his friend a new life profoundly changed Chris’ own outlook. He started volunteering with the National Kidney Foundation to talk with potential donors and recipients about living donation. He also started school again hoping to become a nurse.
“It has made me see things differently. I feel like I can do more,” Chris said. “I feel I have a type of compassion that I can share in a meaningful way with people.”
As part of his outreach efforts, Chris shares his story with hundreds who attend the Long Island Kidney Walk.
“I enjoy walks because it’s important to let people know about living donation,” Chris said. “It’s a beautiful thing, you just have to find the courage to do it.”