Written by Brooke Thomas
If you could have any super power, what would it be? While we have fun letting our minds wander into some adventurous daydreams about flying with a cape or shooting lasers out of our eyes, reality quickly comes back to us and begrudgingly we settle with it. But sometimes we hear about people who are heroes in a much different way. One such person is working right here at Marine Bank, and her name is Misty Shaw.
Misty will tell you she’s just your every day, run of the mill, average person. She’s not average though, she’s inspiring. Misty saved the life of a complete stranger by choosing to donate one of her kidneys.
This story starts about fifteen years ago when Misty saw an article in a magazine about someone who decided to donate a kidney. It blew her mind that this was an option as she has never thought about it before. Organ donations usually fall under devastating circumstances to the donor, but when it comes to donating a kidney, there is an option for a happy outcome for everyone. Misty thought this was a great idea and was interested. Like most of us though, this slipped her mind for years, until she saw something about it again on Facebook. After this reminder, she didn’t waste any time looking into how she could do this.
Through Memorial Transplant Services, Misty found she could save a life right here in our community. This was a no-brainer for her, so she signed up and things got moving quickly. They began testing to make sure Misty was a good candidate. This included physical tests as well as a psychological evaluation. All tests were completed in July and she scheduled her transplant surgery for September.
Conveniently, this surgery is done right here in Springfield. Misty’s mom flew in from Oregon to take care of her and keep her company after the surgery. Nearly all expenses including food and her mother’s flight were paid for by National Living Donor Assistance Center, and all medical expenses were covered by the recipients insurance. There is virtually no expense to the organ donor during the process.
It was time for her surgery. This is considered a major surgery and lasts around three hours and requires a one or two night hospital stay. Misty woke up from her surgery only 14 ounces lighter, but that 14 ounces was the ultimate gift to someone. Just like that, she had given someone a second chance at life. She had given a family more time with their loved one.
Around the fourth week after surgery, Misty was feeling like herself again. The pain wasn’t too bad and while she healed, she was thrilled to get to spend so much time with her mom. Marine Bank was incredibly understanding and flexible about letting her take the necessary time off. She said the most disappointing part of the entire ordeal is that she didn’t lose the 50 lbs. she was hoping to shed!
Misty doesn’t know who received her kidney, but it doesn’t matter to her. She’s so grateful to have had the opportunity to give someone a second chance at life. As a matter of fact, her gift became a chain reaction. The recipient’s original donor, likely a family member or friend of the recipient, decided to go ahead with the donation meaning their kidney would go to someone they didn’t know. This chain continued to three more people. Misty’s heroic deed gave others the chance to do the same.
While we are immeasurably proud of what Misty did, she made it clear that the purpose of this blog is to inspire and encourage others to donate as well. When asked why she wanted to donate her kidney, Misty said, “This doesn’t change your lifestyle and doesn’t bother you. You can help someone live and it barely interrupts your life.”
The kidney is the most needed organ. In the U.S. there are more than 93,000 men, women and children on the kidney transplant waiting list. Patients are often told they could be waiting for five years for a deceased donor, and this is actually closer to 10 years in many cases. The National Kidney Foundation asks potential donors to ‘Share Your Spare’ and give the most substantial gift of a kidney to save a life.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to become a kidney donor, contact Memorial Transplant Services. Misty is also happy to share her story and experience with anyone interested in being a part of this life-saving process.
We are so proud of Misty Shaw and her decision to give someone the ultimate gift by donating her kidney.