She Paid It Forward!

“…One day soon, multiple surgeons, donors and recipients will converge in Gainesville, and like a fine-tuned performance, an intricate ballet of donors and recipients, following multiple operations, lives will be changed. I am honored to be able to donate my kidney to help a stranger in need, to ultimately pay it forward just like the selfless donor family did for Brecon.”  

UPDATE: You may recall the blog post I wrote a few months ago about a woman whose stepson had just gratefully received a long-awaited kidney from a deceased donor this winter in Florida. It indeed changed Brecon’s life, and now his stepmother’s kidney has just changed another young man’s. Stormi Murtie successfully donated her kidney to Justin in a paired donation earlier this month. (Justin’s wife also donated that day to get him into the paired exchange.) Like Brecon, Justin’s search for a kidney was all the more challenging because he reportedly had a 1% chance of finding his match. To everyone’s relief, Stormi was that 1%.

Congratulations, everyone!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Active Athletes, Artists, Academics All Illustrate After-Transplant Benefits

Riddle: What has three transplanted organs and works full time in a demanding, important career into her seventies?

Answer: Elizabeth (Betsy) Crais, my co-author and friend–the academic energizer bunny–whose retirement party I just attended at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Betsy Crais (right, looking the picture of heath) had a kidney transplant in 2004 and a kidney-liver transplant in 2021.

In addition to her regular responsibilities as a professor and researcher, Betsy has taken on numerous roles such as leading a professional association, mentoring students, writing for publication, and more.

Impressive with or without a transplant! It occurred to me that you’ve probably seen stories about athletes who are transplant recipients and have gone back onto the court (Alonzo Mourning went on to win an NBA championship) or singers who’ve gone back on tour or into the studio (think Stevie Wonder), or actors who’ve gone back onto the stage or film set (think Selena Gomez).

But there are many more professors, researchers, contractors, plumbers, lawyers, gardeners–people you pass unknowingly throughout your day–who have been able to lead a full, productive, and rewarding life thanks to an organ donor. It may have even been a living donor (Betsy’s first kidney transplant was from a university colleague friend) or a deceased one (Betsy’s second was a dual kidney and liver transplant from a deceased donor).

Organ transplants give recipients like my son, Paul, a second–sometime a third or more–chance at a full life. If you’re not already registered as an organ donor, please take a couple of minutes to sign up (at or many other sites).

For related posts, resources, and information on The Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation, be sure to explore the rest of my website.

Alonzo Mourning had a kidney transplant in 2003, returned to the court in 2004, and helped win an NBA championship with the Miami Heat in 2006.
Paul Offen (my son/recipient) had his kidney transplant in 2006.
Actress/singer Selena Gomez had a kidney transplant in 2017.

Stevie Wonder had his kidney transplant at the end of 2019.