You Have Two, But You Only Need One

Georgine Hurst

You have two kidneys, but to live a full life and thrive, you only need one. This unique organ design of our bodies allows us to help someone else to live a full life and thrive by donating one of our spares. Keep reading! You may immediately conclude that this isn’t for you. After all, you may be 60 or 70 years old or more. It turns out, it’s not how old you are, but how healthy you are. A living donor has to be at least 18 to 25 years old depending upon the program, but there is no upper limit. A healthy kidney is the key.

When a friend of mine, Jan Henrikson, age 63, discovered this, she watched YouTube videos of living donors telling their personal stories and their recipients’ stories. She was deeply touched and just knew she wanted to donate a kidney, thinking, “Why wouldn’t I?” She did so and feels it has given her a special sense of connectedness, love, and a renewed purpose in life. Jan shares her story hoping it inspires someone else to donate.

The stats: More than 90,000 people in the United States are waiting for a kidney transplant. The good news is that in 2022 for the first time ever, there were 25,000 kidney transplants performed in the U.S. The challenging news is 13 people die every day while waiting for a kidney.

Family voucher: As a living donor, if you donate to a stranger now, you have a voucher for a friend or relative who might need a kidney in the future. They will be given priority on the living donor waitlist.

Cost: Donors don’t usually pay for their own expenses. If a donor knows the recipient, the recipient’s insurance covers the costs. In other cases, the costs are covered by several national organizations. One example is the National Living Donor Assistance Center.

If your interest is piqued, go online to the National Kidney Registry website, and click the “For Donors” tab for more information. Since researching the kidney donation process, I have come to know Joseph Rivera in Oro Valley who urgently needs a kidney. He has inherited PKD, polycystic kidney disease, multiple fluid-filled cysts on his kidney. Please go to to learn more about him, his background, his family, his work, and his need.