Video: Beyond The Green: A Worthy Koz
What Does It Mean To Be A Living Donor?
What does it mean to be a living donor?
Around December of 2014, Kerry Kozlowski, sister-in-law of associate head softball coach Natalie Kozlowski, learned that her kidneys were functioning at less than 20 percent of their total kidney function.
“At that moment, right then and there, I was with my family in New York, and I said, ‘If she needed a kidney, I would be willing to donate to her, '” Natalie recalled.
The following November, after genetic matches were ruled out as an option, Natalie pursued a Kidney Paired Donor (KPD) program, a fairly new and intensive program, where through a series of kidney translation, she would be able to donate one of her kidneys to a recipient, and another donor would be able to donate one of their kidneys to Kerry.
After a series of interviews, blood work and other testing throughout the process, everything was a go, and she traveled to the Virginia Mason Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle for her surgery.
“I never hesitated,” Natalie said. “It was a no-brainer for me. This was family, and family is the most important thing in my life. I wanted to make sure that I could help my sister-in-law in whatever way I could.”
The big day, May 17, 2016, had arrived. Natalie had surgery. So, too, did Kerry and the other four donors and recipients that were a part of the exchange of kidney. It was a success, and it was an experience that Natalie will take with her for the rest of her life.
“I feel a sense of purpose with my life and being able to help someone else physically and emotionally,” she said. “I feel good about what I did. I would do it again. I will forever be an organ donor if something happens to me.”