Susan Fredrickson is a doctor. She is also a lifesaver.
After her husband tragically passed away from ALS three years ago, she decided she wanted to do something really special:
“It would have meant the world to me to have more time together when he was healthy. The thought of prolonging another family’s time with their loved one really stuck with me. I thought, “I can do that,” and I called a transplant center the next day.”
She has written in Time Magazine about her experience. She initially decided to donate her kidney through a non-directed kidney donation, which meant she wouldn’t know who received it.
Despite being almost 65 years old, the tests all came back showing that she was healthy enough to donate.
She underwent the surgery successfully and it took about 2 months to recuperate. Then in an unexpected twist, Susan got the opportunity to meet Ronda – the kidney recipient.
Ronda had had a bacterial kidney infection that had irreversibly damaged her kidney 30 years previously. The year before her health had rapidly declined and she was put on treatment. Without the donation, she wouldn’t have lived.
Susan describes the very emotional meeting.
“On the day of our meeting, I walked into a conference room where Rhonda was standing with her husband and hospital residents. She immediately hugged me and wouldn’t let go, and I started to cry. The realization of what happened between us suddenly felt so real. Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” she said as she handed me flowers. “It’s hard to say ‘thank you’ for what you’ve given me. To me, it’s not enough.”
Not many people know that live donation is a possibility.
While Susan says she doesn’t see herself as a hero, she does admit that the entire experience was completely “awesome”.
Now Ronda’s husband (who wasn’t a match for her) has begun the process to donate his kidney to a stranger.
He hopes his actions will now help to continue this lifesaving chain.