I was one of the very fortunate ones who spent a very short five months on dialysis before receiving the gift of life through a kidney transplant. Each trip to the dialysis center was a constant reminder of what my future held, as I sat with others who were much sicker than I was. I knew in the back of my mind I would not see 60 years-old. I would not be there to grow old with my wife Nancy. I knew I would not be there to see all the “firsts” in my daughter Sydney’s life. Her graduation. Walking her down the aisle. My grandchildren. I remember the grief my daughter felt when she lost her grandfather and our beloved dog Cupid. How could I put her through that? I began to tell everyone I knew, from casual friends to family and beyond, that I was in need of a transplant and ultimately a kidney donor.
Many people stepped forward and were tested to see if they might be a kidney match for me, but they were deemed ineligible. The last to be tested was my best friend Dan Hickman, whom I have known since we were five years old. He mentioned he thought he was the same blood type. Dan decided to be tested and thankfully was a match. His selfless act of becoming my donor saved my life, and on June 5th, 2012, two days before my birthday, the transplant was performed.
How do express your gratitude to someone for giving such a gift? Every word or phrase I can think of is so inadequate. Simply put, thank you, Dan. You have changed my life and my family’s life so profoundly, and there is no way I could ever repay such an incredible gift.
-John Callahan, Kidney Transplant Recipient