Why Donate to a Stranger
I was challenged recently to try to explain what drives me to donating to a stranger and what is in it for me. If I were paid a large sum of money, then that could be understood as to the motives behind this. But with no apparent benefit – then why do it? Very good question and not always easy to answer.
Why do people decide to sail around the world or climb the highest mountains in the most atrocious of conditions? They are hailed as Explorers and record breakers and daring.
Why do our wonderfully brave men and women join the Forces knowing they may get injured or killed if they go to war? They are indeed exceptionally brave and courageous people and no-one will doubt that at all, I am in awe of all of them and I am just a shadow in their presence.
Why do we do anything though? Emotions drive us either to do something or not do something. As Blaise Pascal once said “Le cœur a ses raisons, que la raison ne connaît point. “The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know.”
Sometimes the drive inside us is so strong we just can’t ignore it. I had a desire inside me to offer one of my kidneys to someone who needed one. That desire just grew over time. I knew it was something I wanted to do.
What do I get out of donating? I do agree that whenever we give, we do also receive, whether it is a great sense of satisfaction or disappointment should something go wrong.
Regardless of what we give – love, help, gift or simply a hug – we get some sort of emotion in return, even without asking for it.
I am certainly not doing this for any emotional thrill at the end. I have had some stress so far as the wheels seem to turn so slowly – I am not a very patient patient…lol. There is not much support to be found as altruistic kidney donation is very much a new development in kidney donation in the UK. So finding people to just chat to about this is not easy.
This was one of the reasons I started this blog, as was hard to get the full donor perspective of it all. I know some people who I should tell I am donating, but they would be against this or just wouldn’t understand, so I have not told them. I will tell them nearer the time. This also means that people close to them I cannot tell, as it is not fair to expect people to keep secrets. I can do without negative attitudes at this time and only need people who are prepared to support me – whether they agree with me or not. So that is somewhat stressful, having to keep quiet to people who perhaps I would like to include.
Once I have donated, then what? Unlike donating to a partner or child or sibling, I will have no-one to hug, no-one that I can share in the joy of seeing them begin to lead a normal life; no-one I can look down on when they are asleep and feel my love for them sweep over me – no-one I can tell that they have to take me to the Peking Palace twice a year for a slap up meal!! – No-one I can telephone to ask how they are. I will probably feel a bit depressed because I want to give them a hug and can’t. In fact I will know very little if anything about them at all. I won’t know the recipients name, or anything about them except that they so desperately needed a new kidney – so I imagine I will have a bit of an “emotional hole” for a while. I will Pray the recipient does okay and lives for many years a good life. I will also feel so very happy knowing someone has a new start in life. That feeling will far far outweigh any negative feelings. So there are no “emotional highs” in this so far – just many “emotional frustrations”.
I have had people email me offering their support. Someone who donated last year and people who are currently undergoing evaluation right now and someone just offering me their prayers and wishing me luck. I also have had emails from people telling me I am crazy, nuts, stupid!. .. .I have been verbally abused and sworn at in emails. I cannot say some of the emails have not hurt they have, even though those people do not know me at all. Yes I put myself in that position by having a public blog. But I have also had four people contact me who are wanting to donate (3 to relatives and one considering donating to a stranger) but find it hard to get first hand information from the donor perspective.
It can only help people to give the full picture. I have not done the blog for any glory or emotional high. I have done it so other people won’t struggle like I have in trying to get certain questions answered but finding the medical answers still leave some holes, which as a potential donor those questions need full answers, and hopefully I can help fill those holes and so help someone make a decision – one way or the other – or be there for a donor who just needs a bit of emotional support from someone who is going through it – been through it.
Most of my life I have known people who help other people just as part of a normal day. .. often putting themselves out no end just so someone else wasn’t struggling. There was never any question of whether that person deserved help or whether one had the time to help them, one made the time and effort no matter who the person was and if you couldn’t help for whatever reason, you sure as heck found someone who could.
When I heard it was now legal to donate to a stranger, I had this strong desire to make a real difference in someone’s life. Between knowing I wanted to donate and starting the evaluation proceeding I had a year. In that time I did a lot of research and speaking to people, including donors.
None of my research or discussions with people produced anything that made me think twice about my decision. My Christian beliefs I am sure have played a large part in making me the person I am. Life experiences have also influenced my attitudes towards events and people and life in general. It is very rewarding to be able to help someone, regardless of who they are, no matter how little or large the help.
I have been in three situations over the years where I have really really needed help, physically and or emotionally and never really got it. What help I did get – people soon tired and turned their backs. .. I do not like the thought of people struggling, wanting help and not getting it. I know the emotional pain and depression it can bring and believe me, no one should have to go through that. If I can give help to someone, I will – and God willing, I hope that is what I can do in this instance.
What makes us feel the way we do? Why do we feel certain emotions? I don’t really know. All I do know is that this is something I really want to do.
The desire to donate must come from within the heart and not from any outside pressure. I hope this blog can help anyone who does have the desire to donate – whether to a family member, close friend, or to a stranger – to find some useful information here that will help one way or another.
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