"Not to be dramatic, but I feel like someone took my kidney." Memphian Sami Harvey playfully posted this comment on a Facebook update hours after undergoing surgery to donate a kidney.
It's been two weeks since she gave the gift of life.
"Growing up, I had a boyfriend whose mom was in renal failure," Harvey says. "I always wanted to help and swore I would one day." After a year of tests to make sure donor and recipient were both healthy enough, that the kidney was compatible, and "all sorts of other sciency stuff," she had the surgery on June 5th and was out of the hospital on the 7th.
Harvey's donor recipient, Claudia, spent years on dialysis, attached to a machine three days a week. Within the first day, her new kidney was functioning at 100 percent. "She will never have to experience dialysis again," Harvey says. "Yeah, my body is a little sore this week, but the whole trajectory of this woman's — and her husband and son's — life ... Organ donation is so important, and such an easy way to make the world a better place."
According to the Mid-South Transplant Foundation, more than 113,000 people are currently on the national waiting list for a life-saving transplant — 4,000 of those live in the Mid-South, with 87 percent in need of a kidney.
The Ride for Life event, a 25-mile scenic bike ride and 1-mile kids' fun ride through East Memphis and Midtown, encourages wellness while promoting awareness of the importance of organ and tissue donation.
Ride for Life, Memorial Park, 5668 Poplar, Sunday, June 23rd, 7 a.m., $15 (spirit rider), $25 (individual/race day)