Share Your Spare

Have you ever thought about giving one of your kidneys – the part of your body that cleans your blood – to a stranger, to someone you don’t know?

Scientific progress has made it easier and safer to transplant organs – to move a healthy heart, liver, kidney, or other organ from someone who has died to a living person who needs it. In 2015 about 31,000 transplants were performed in the U.S.

That’s a large number. But the number of people waiting for transplants of all kinds – almost 120,000 – is much larger, and a new name is added to the list every 10 minutes. Even though transplants save or improve the lives of 85 people every day, 22 others die because they can’t get one.

Our kidney’s main job is to clean our blood. When it works well, we don’t think about it. When it doesn’t, we often have to go to the hospital or a clinic several days a week for dialysis, using a machine to do what a sick kidney can’t do.

In the U.S., 600,000 people are on dialysis, and 100,000 of them need a transplant because dialysis is only a temporary solution. But in 2015, only 16,000 people received healthy kidneys. Why so few? Not enough healthy kidneys to transplant.

We are born with two kidneys. And we can easily live with only one. That’s why many people are making the decision to donate (give) a kidney to a stranger.

Last year, Dylan Matthews, a young journalist (news reporter), gave one of his kidneys to a man he’d never met.

Matthews says that he’d thought about giving one of his kidneys for years. “It seems,” he writes, “like such a simple and clear way to help someone else, through a procedure (process) that’s very low-risk (safe) to me.”

Matthews points out that if he “kept walking around with two kidneys when there are more than 100,000 people on the kidney waitlist (waiting list) who would most likely die in the next five years if they didn’t get one,” he would be like someone who sees a child drowning (die from being under water) in a pond (small area of water) but doesn’t do anything because he doesn’t want to get his clothes wet and dirty.

Matthews became friends with one person who had become a donor, then another. And after talking with them he decided that the facts were simple: “it’s awful to need a kidney and really not that hard to give one.” And so, in 2016, he did.

The process took about five months. Testing started in March, was finished in mid-May, and in June he was approved as a donor. On Monday, August 22, he was admitted to (entered) Johns Hopkins hospital so his left kidney could be removed.

The first few days of recovery (return to normal) were difficult. But Thursday, three days after surgery, he went home. On Friday he went out with friends, and on Saturday, he and his father went to a movie.

Matthews says that “giving a kidney was the most rewarding experience of [his] life.” He talks about the choices we make – especially when we’re young – some good, some bad. He believes that this decision was one of his best. “I was…deeply gratified (thankful) to have made at least one choice in my life that I know was beyond a shadow of a doubt (absolutely) the right one.”

Note: The title for this blog post comes from Briana Zavala, a young kidney donor from California, who encourages people to “share your spare (extra)” kidney.

~ Warren Ediger – ESL tutor/coach and creator of the Successful English website.

Dylan Matthews’ story comes from
Photo: screenshot from MPD-SI Newhouse School.


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6 Responses to Share Your Spare

  1. Peter says:

    U know
    It is all cool, being humanitarian and all.

    However,looming over the sentiment is a more existential question.

    Will your body function in full capacity like nothing ever happened post -kidney donation ?


  2. emiliano says:

    Sorry but not ever being alive, with only one exception giving it to my wife or one of my daughters.
    Am I shelfish?
    May be, but my question it is just the same like Pete

    No, my generosity is not so deep, I would like to donate it and all my other organs
    once being dead but not being alive.

    Spain it is the first nation in organs donation and transplants which evidently it is
    very good.
    All these kind of transplants are for free, no body has to pay anything to the hospital, doctors and medicines.
    Public health care are absolutely free and I think it is a world model, not to everybody of course as there are countries where this kind of public health system
    does not like.
    It is easy to know and I am not going to mention it.



  3. Tania says:


    Something terrible is happening.

    “Daily English 1305 is our last Daily English lesson.”

    What about Culture English, our dear English Cafe?

    For all these years you, Jeff, Lucy and Warren, were my best friends.
    Especially , you Jeff, you are my best secret friend.
    It is a real loss for my soul not to listen to you, not to see you, not to teach us,
    not to write us.

    I can’t say “So it goes”.
    I can’t say “So long, good bye!”

    As you are the sound of the music of my soul.


  4. Tania says:


    Maybe there is a hope.
    As Warren writes us with serenity and tells nothing about our problem…
    At least our blog could continue.

    Thank you Warren for the ray of hope you always send to us.

    Best wishes,


  5. Tania says:


    Dear Emiliano, thank you for that you are thinking about me.
    Yes, it was awful. It is good for me that I can use the verb “it was”,
    as it is still awful.
    For few months a lot of troubles happened to me.
    For two months I was ill, my husband died, my daughter divorced…
    and all these at the same time.
    I am still confused.

    Thank you for your email address. I hope to write you soon.

    Best wishes to you and Cuca,


  6. emiliano says:

    Do it Tania please, I have one dear friend who writes to me nearly
    every day, like I do with him.

    So please, despite it is very very terrible events what you have told
    us, all my condolences to you Tania, it is good to write or to talk with
    a friend who is living out, far away or close to our hearts.

    My sister died, my best friend after Cuca died too, I am in fact alone as
    Cuca is out home but not so alone as my dear Gatufo it is always at my side.

    Now that supposed friends are out of my life because they do not visit me or call me, I don´t know the reason but could suspect it, I have my old one who writes to me in English and I reply him in Spanish.
    He has been and he is for long my one in several aspects that would be long
    to explain.
    If you need a clue he has thousands of friends round the world.

    So, Tania here I am, again my deep sorrow about your lost, It has to be very
    very sad.


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