Pride Month: Altruistic Donor, Olivia Zick

We are proud to be a part of the Cincinnati Pride Festival this Saturday. Today we share Olivia’s story:

“My connection to donation started in May of 2012 when my father James passed away. He was able to donate tissue, corneas and bone to help many people enhance their lives. Then in September of 2013, my connection became stronger when my brother’s 6-month-old niece Lainey tragically passed away due to a car accident and was able to donate many of her organs.

In November of 2015, I saw on the news that a single mother of 4 in Northern Kentucky needed a kidney transplant and was desperate for a living donor. I was sitting on my couch and thought to myself, “Why wouldn’t I try to help this woman and get tested?” I immediately contacted the kidney transplant team at The Christ Hospital Health Network to see what I needed to do to begin the process.

While I was deemed healthy enough to donate my kidney, I was not a match for the woman that I saw on the news. At that point we entered the paired kidney exchange to increase her chances at getting a kidney. After 8 months of being on the exchange, she thankfully received a deceased donor’s kidney.

The transplant team asked me if I would consider being an altruistic donor, within 3 hours of saying yes they found my match, who happened to be a 29 year old in California. Surgery was scheduled for December 21, 2016 for 5 am, which was also my 24th birthday! This started a chain of 8 transplants across the country. I then flew to California in November of 2017 to meet my recipient Jess and her family. We are now truly family and sisters at heart.

Donating my kidney was the best decision I have made and has made me a better person. Jess is now much healthier and living a full life with her family and friends, including her extended family in Cincinnati.”

Learn more about The Christ Hospital’s Kidney Transplant program here:

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