An act of kindness can change someone’s life. Some acts are small, such as buying a suspended coffee at your local coffee shop. They can warm a person who is out in the cold or even just help a person who is having a bad day and forgot their wallet. You never know how much impact a small gesture will have on someone’s life.
Then there are the life-changing acts that require a serious sacrifice or commitment. We generally know that these acts will change someone’s life, but they can be difficult and even risky. Imagine, instead of giving up a couple of dollars to a complete stranger, you give an organ. That’s the sacrifice that a woman named Jennifer made for a man she had never met.
Jennifer was an avid fan of the Ellen DeGeneres Show. No matter what kind of day she had, she said that she always felt good after watching the show. One day, after watching the Ellen show, Jennifer decided to start a Facebook group that focused on doing random acts of kindness (or RAKs as she calls them). When asked about performing these acts, she described the feeling as being “like the excitement of giving your loved one or someone special a stellar Christmas gift that you are over the top eager with anticipation for them to open because you know how much they will like it.”
Meanwhile, a family living over 700 miles away was desperately searching for an answer to their prayers. The patriarch of the family, Avram, had end stage kidney disease and was on dialysis three times per week. His children had been searching for two years to find a compatible donor that could save their father’s life.
On April 3rd, Jennifer came across a Facebook post about a man searching for a donor kidney for his wife. After doing some research, she found that he had already located a donor. If a random act was like giving a great Christmas gift, imagine the feeling of giving someone the ultimate gift…life. Not to be dissuaded, Jennifer registered with MatchingDonors.com and began looking for a recipient. This began the whirlwind that has changed the lives of everyone involved.
Only four days after her decision to register, Jennifer picked Avram Gabay as her recipient. Over the next two months Jennifer went through multiple rounds of testing and had the opportunity to meet Avram, his wife Lucie, and their children. At 5:30 in the morning exactly two months from the day she decided to become a donor, the surgery took place. It’s been over a month and a half since the surgery and Jennifer has returned to work and a full, active lifestyle. She says that her experience has given her, “a different outlook on life.”
Jennifer made a connection with Avram and his family. Her sacrifice changed not only all of their lives, but hers as well. She describes how they brought her into their family and treated her as one of their own. They have shared in the overwhelming joy, hope, and tears that can only come with the gift of life.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
Jennifer provides us with the same inspiration that she got from Ellen. We share her story because if just one person can follow her example, another life can be saved. There are risks and it may leave you asking, “Why would I do this and risk my own health?” Jennifer’s answer to this question is simple: “Why not? A life is worth saving if I have been fortunate to have good health and have a spare part to give.” If you are ready to give that gift, check out MatchingDonors.com. There might be someone on there right now that you can save and build a bond with that will last a lifetime.
Jennifer’s advice to anyone that is interested in donating is “to choose three potential recipients as you may or may not qualify for them depending on their medical needs and be sure to communicate that to all three parties so you don’t get anyone’s hopes up only to let them down.”
If you’re not ready to make that leap you can still change a life through small acts of kindness that just might reach the right person at the right time and make all of the difference.
Check out Jennifer’s page www.facebook.com/Luvrak to follow her continued journey to make a difference in the world with random acts of kindness.