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Donor Stories

Giving the Gift Back

I have been given the opportunity to give the gift of life to someone very special to me, my dad.

My dad, Joe Neff, developed end stage renal disease after coming down with a viral infection in January 2005. He is a diabetic and somehow the infection was severe enough that it affected his kidneys. For 24 to 48 hours we were preparing for the worst, which would have been my dad passing away.

These 2 days were so filled with emotions and we did not know what to expect. After 2 days of many tests a neurologist decided to place him on dialysis.

Dad was told from that point of entering dialysis that he would not be eligible for a kidney transplant. This was very hard for our family to accept because we wanted dad to live at his fullest! Each of my siblings and myself were more than willing to be tested to give dad one of our kidneys but continued to be told by doctors that this was not possible.

He continued on with the dialysis process and in June 2005 we got word from a Doctor, who was a gastroenterologist specialist, that he was eligible for a kidney transplant! All five of my siblings and myself agreed to be tested to donate. My two sisters were automatically eliminated because of diabetic issues. My youngest brother was questioned but they did not schedule him for any testing. I received the call next. In October 2005, I began many tests with Ohio State University Medical Center. These tests included blood draws, CT scans, EKG’s, MORE blood draws, many blood pressure checks and a lot of urine samples. I ended up as the lucky one! I was told that I was a match and that I would be able to give my dad one of my kidneys. I never thought twice about this process. I was going to be able to give my dad a second chance at life.

On January 31, 2006 after many tests we received THE CALL – the match was right and we were scheduled for surgery on February 28, 2006! We were in our hospital rooms awaiting surgery on February 27, and by 7pm on the 28th I awoke in my hospital room and was told dad was alive and well! Dad’s surgery was VERY successful – in fact the minute they hooked my kidney to him, it started producing urine!

I gave my dad life since he originally gave me life! This has been a very emotional and bonding experience but I do not regret it all and am glad to have “saved” my dad’s life!

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