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My Kidney Donation Story: Abigail Purser

Abigail Purser

My grandpa was a kidney recipient, and his sister was his donor. At his funeral in 2018, my uncle was giving the eulogy, and he said that a piece of her had died with him. That’s when the reality of kidney donation really hit me.

I didn’t realize how easy it was to get on the registry or to find someone to donate to until I saw a post from a mom on Facebook. One of my friends had shared the post, saying my son would like a kidney before he has to go on dialysis. It had the NKR website address and the information someone would need to register as a potential donor for him.

I didn’t realize how easy it was to get on the registry or to find someone to donate to until I saw a post from a mom on Facebook.

Abigail Purser

I filled out the form and did my blood work and got the process started. I didn’t know the mom or her son. I just knew it was something I wanted to do, but before I saw that post I hadn’t known how to go about it. I didn’t want to call a phone number on the back of a car. That was the first time I had seen a post about someone needing a kidney. It’s funny, because since then, I’ve heard of several people who need kidneys. People have just come out of the woodwork.

When I registered to be his donor, I liked that there were questions I had to answer before I even talked to anybody. I didn’t know what would disqualify me, so I didn’t want to have to talk to someone and potentially end up letting them down.

I did all the blood work and had my workup done at Intermountain. The patient’s mom had been tested and there was a family friend who had been tested. The mom couldn’t donate, and the friend, I’m not sure what happened, but she ended up not donating. I was third in line.

Once I had been entered into the registry as his donor, I reached out to the mom to say that I was open to communicating with her. I ended up meeting them both on the son’s birthday before we went in for our pre-op in December 2022.

Went I went in for my COVID test two days before my donation, I had RSV, so I had to wait. I ended up donating in February of this year. We were part of a chain with five other centers. He got the call at 2:30 in the afternoon on February 21 and I went in around 6:30 that night. My kidney flew overnight to Georgia, they received it the morning of February 22.

My recovery was super easy. It took me about three months to get back to 100%.

Abigail Purser

Before the surgery, I remember being anxious. I was tearing up a little bit because I was just sitting there outside the operating room and I was feeling a little overwhelmed. A nurse came over to talk to me and I told her I didn’t want to be alone, so she stayed and talked to me, which was really nice because I’m sure she had other things to do.

My recovery was super easy. I took the rest of the week off, then I went in on Monday to give my students one last chance to get their grades up at the end of the semester then I took the rest of that week off. I had the surgery in the evening and they kept me the next full day then I left around 11 a.m. the following day.

It took me about three months to get back to 100%. I don’t really notice anything now, except maybe if my pants rub against my scar.

I would encourage anyone to become a donor, but be sure it’s something you want to do because once you do it there’s no taking it back. I would also say to be sure you have someone with you. My sister was my caretaker. I am pretty tough and I just figured I’d do it all myself, but having someone there with me was really good.

The NKR has made it so much easier for people to link up, and if you aren’t a match for the person you wanted to donate to, as long as you have someone willing to donate on your behalf, it’s possible.

About the Author

Abigail Purser grew up in a small town in Kansas but now lives in Idaho with her husband, Kendall, and their five children: Abinadi, Caspian, Ginevra, Beatrix, and Luthien. Along with being a wife and mother, Abigail is an 8th-grade Math teacher, where she gets to work with about 140 students every school year. Abigail and her family love music and enjoy playing and singing together. She plays the clarinet and piano and accompanies the congregation on the organ at church. In 2020, Abigail earned her Black Belt in TaeKwonDo and another in combat Tai Chi. During the Idaho winters, she can be found inside putting puzzles together with her daughter, Beatrix, or playing games with her family. In the summer, her family enjoys kayaking, paddleboarding, and playing at the park down the street. Abigail has always been a giving person and willing to help where she can, so when the opportunity to be a kidney donor presented itself, she did not hesitate to register.

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