My Kidney Donation Story: Kristie Sue Hathaway
I am a state trooper in Minnesota. I work overnights, and during breaks, we would sometimes meet up with the local department.
There was a guy there who was more of an acquaintance than a friend. One night, he mentioned that he only had one kidney—he had a birth defect and had to have one removed. I said, oh if you need one, you can have one of mine. He said, thanks, I’m good.
Fast forward a few years later, a friend of the family needed a kidney. Again, I told them they could have one of mine. This just kind of kept coming up. Then I realized that I kept offering but I didn’t really know what was involved, so I decided to look into it. I stumbled across the Mayo Clinic’s altruistic donation information.
I’ve been on the Be the Match registry for bone marrow for a long time, so I figured if I signed up to be a kidney donor, they wouldn’t find anybody. I went through the process and they said, oh no, if you’re willing to donate, we’ll find someone for you.
I didn’t tell many people, my husband and I just kind of kept it between us. However, there was a teacher who really took me under her wing when I was growing up, so I thought I should let her know. I told her, I am going to donate to a stranger because I don’t know anyone who needs a kidney. She said, well, I know someone. A friend of hers needed a kidney. I had already committed to the Mayo Clinic, but I was able to donate through the Voucher Program and give her friend my voucher.
I donated on February 11, 2021. I had asked my transplant surgeon about the restriction on lifting weights after the surgery, and I asked when I could start running again. She said, you can start running again as soon as you feel able, maybe around two weeks. No hills, because that puts strain on your abs, and don’t run out any further than you can run back, which is good advice for anyone, really. I ran three miles 12 days post-operation and I was back to running 20 miles a week by the six-week mark. I went back to work at eight weeks.
Oh, and that guy from the beginning of the story? I ended up marrying him. I guess he thought me offering him my kidney was some sort of pickup line: he told me that the only person who ever offered to give him a kidney was his mother. Little did he know, I would have done it for anyone.
We started dating soon after that conversation, and we got married about a year later. Before I donated, I asked him if he was OK with it and he was. He’s the person who really inspired my donation because I know he has lived completely fine with one kidney.
He said, you’ll be fine, and he was right. I definitely think it was worth it. I would do it again for sure.
About the Author
Kristie Sue resides in Eagan, Minnesota, along with her husband, Steve, and their golden retriever, Charlie. Her hobbies include running and cycling. She has completed five marathons and enjoys cycling in multi-day charity riding events. In addition to endurance sports, Kristie Sue enjoys spending time outdoors camping, hiking, and canoeing with her husband and Charlie.