Organ Donation

The Kidney Story - Our Family History of Dealing with PKD

A few years ago, in the midst of dealing with kidney failure, I sent out out periodic news and motivational type letters. These were intended for a close circle of family and friends; instead the distribution list included all my business and personal contacts as well. This has now become an annual feature and may be found in the Blog section of this site.

The short version of my story is that due to a family history of polycystic kidney disease, my kidneys failed in the August 2005. I was on dialysis machines three times a week, four hours per session that lasted for two years. I never missed a day of work and continued to run all business operations averaging forty to fifty hours a week.

I began writing my book during these tiresome sessions while the machine cleaned my blood and kept me alive. There is always opportunity in what we perceive to be obstacles or impossible challenges. I am thankful that I was able to keep moving forward with he help of family and friends.

I was blessed with a kidney transplant in August 2007 at Duke Medical Center. I am grateful to my unknown donor's family for the chance to live again. The transplant has been successful and I have another chance at life! God is good and I am determined to follow His will through the rest of my days.

If you have not considered being a live or post-life donor, please consider the miracle you will provide for someone else to live a little longer. Please register with either of these groups today:

Carolina Donor Services

Carolina Donor Services was the organization that was instrumental in providing me with the transplant I needed. Please help support their outstanding work.

National Organ Donor Registry

Another organization that needs help in this field:

The Polycystic Kidney Foundation
 
The added benefit? When you get to the hereafter (depending on where you think you are going!) you will have the privilege of singing with one of the many choirs: "I left my my heart (liver, kidney, pancreas, cornea - pick one or all!) in ________(city or country of choice, with apologies to Tony Bennett)

Many thanks to all of you for the prayers, cards, calls and well wishes during the past few years. I will keep you posted with any new developments or changes via the Blog

This page will expand as time goes on - there are many local, national & international projects that are worthy of our time and support. I will add theses one by one as we move forward. Check back when you can. In the meantime help those you can.
And it does not have to be money!
 

I am only one, but still I am one.  I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do. - Edmund Everett Hale

My  Favorite  Charities:
 

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. - Bertrand Russell

I strongly believe we have way too many systems, all in the business of helping people in need. Rather than start another one with even more expenses, I would prefer to  have everyone who is so inclined to help by taking a look at these groups;

Winston-Salem Area - Help for the Needy
 
 
Winston-Salem Hospice

A Letter to My Donor's Family

Hello to the Family of my donor,

I have not had the opportunity to meet with you and thank you personally for your gift of life to me. I make it a point to read this letter at all the events I am part of, sharing the story of organ donation and what it means to me. My hope is that you will hear of this letter or read it some day.

My name is George. I live in North Carolina. I have been self-employed most of my life, run a couple of companies; one is a consulting company and the other is in the mortgage industry.

My wife and I have been married for 32 years; we have 4 children – the oldest three are girls, 28, 24, 22. Our youngest son is 17. We have two grandsons, the oldest will be 5 on Thanksgiving day and the youngest is 6 weeks old.

My hobbies and interests run a wide range; my education was in religion – I was going to be a minister, following in my father’s and grandfathers footsteps. Somewhere along the way, I got lost in traffic and many years later found a simple way to accomplish the same objective. I spend most of my work week consulting individuals and business owners. I like to read, write, plan; also enjoy gadgets, photography, 3D Graphics and animation. Above all I love to see the next generation take over and take charge.

My family has a history of polycystic kidney disease. My sister had a kidney transplant in 2005; her son was her donor. My younger brother received his kidney transplant from a friend in October 2010.

A little over 6 years ago I had to go on dialysis treatments; this was a life changing event. I faced it with courage, determined to survive this part of my journey. I went to dialysis three days a week, worked the other three days, averaging 40 – 50 hours per week, walked 10 miles every week so I could stay in shape and handed everything over to God.

I believe my family took it the hardest, even though they tried hard not to show it. I always tried my best to be positive; there were many times I received phone calls regarding potential transplants, usually as the second and third back-up. Then I would be advised that someone else had received the kidney. I would quietly say” Maybe next time.” I came to realize that if I really meant “Thy Will Be Done”, I really had to believe it and get on with living my life.

I had been on the list less than two years; sometimes it seemed like an eternity. But with every trial there comes opportunity. My eyes were opened to the suffering of kidney patients and I was able to do some good things while at the clinic. We are starting some programs to benefit kidney patients who need help.    I even figured out a way to type with one hand and started my book, completing 26 chapters in one year.

On August 29, 2007 I received the phone call from Duke Medical Center; this was the call that would change my life forever. There are no words to describe my thankfulness for the gift your family gave to my family. It is a bittersweet moment in my life. Because of someone’s unselfish gift, I have a new chance at life. Even though 4 years have gone by, I cannot imagine the pain from your loss, I can only pray that God Himself will wipe the tears from your eyes, give you hope and hold you close to His heart.

I am convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my donor had a giving heart, that there were unfulfilled wishes in her life. I want to assure you that her gift will not be in vain. I will strive to fulfill those wishes as they are sent to me. I will not let you down.

The road ahead is no different than the one I have traveled over the past 59 years. There will be trials, struggles, sorrow, pain, success, happiness and all of life’s other variables. Just like my first life, the gift of my second life is not a promise of success, a life of ease or comfort. It is only an opportunity to try and fulfill our parent’s dreams, attempt to achieve our individual potential and then to reach beyond the stars for God’s vision for each of us.

Thank you, once again, for your gift of a second life to me.”

Sincerely,

George H. Pingho