My Calling: Why I Became A Kidney Donor

By Ted R. Garding

My name is Ted R. Garding.  In my family, we were all blessed with good health and we were taught to be kind to people and to help those in need.  Five years ago, at the age of 46, I was watching the news on Easter morning and saw a segment on living kidney donation. At that moment, a light went off, and I knew that this was my calling and part of my purpose.  I contacted the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) the next day and began the most wonderful, educational experience of my life. Over a period of months, I underwent blood tests and talked to various people about the reasons why I wanted to give a kidney to someone I did not know. Going through the process of becoming a non-directed living kidney donor was very rewarding and did not alter or change my personal life in any way. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the experience because I knew it was all to help someone in need and to give quality to their life. 

In October of 2010, a young 28 year old man named Joe received my kidney. Joe and I have since become best friends. With my kidney, Joe is now doing excellent, living a normal life and doing things with his family and friends that he wasn't able to do before.  

I asked myself one day, ‘Why did I give somebody one of my kidneys?’  The answer was simple.  AWARENESS.  Seeing that news article and becoming aware of kidney donation is truly what opened my eyes and mind and caused me to become a donor. I am well aware of how important and powerful awareness can be.

I am a trained Your Kidneys and You presenter with my local NKF office, and I educate the community about their kidneys and risks for kidney disease.  It is my pleasure to help make people aware of kidney disease prevention and treatment.  Personally, since I donated my kidney, I have never felt better in my life, both physically and mentally. I feel like a million dollars every day, and I have a new friend, Joe.  The Key to Life is: "Be kind to people, help those in need, and your rewards will never cease to come. “