“This is our story”
The story of the National Living Organ Donors Foundation can only begin with the story of its Founder and Executive Director, Harry Kiernan. Several years ago, one of Harry’s friends was in dire need of a second kidney transplant. Harry offered him one of his, but the recipient was in the process of receiving a kidney from his brother. The need for organ donations so resonated with Harry that he became intensely interested in the ability to save lives through living organ donations. On June 6, 2007, at age 54, Harry got his opportunity to test both his commitment and his generosity. Working with renowned transplant surgeon Dr. David Hull of Hartford Hospital, Harry altruistically donated one of his kidneys. Harry’s left kidney was given to a 52 year old librarian, wife and mother, whom he then met one month later. His recipient had been on the kidney transplant waiting list for four years. After numerous preparations for a deceased donation had failed to materialize, she and her family began to lose all hope. Now she is doing well, free of the need for dialysis and looking forward to the rest of her life. For this most generous act, Harry received the “Gift of Life Award’ from the National Kidney Foundation of Connecticut on March 29, 2008.
Harry wanted to do more and finally, after many months of extensive testing, he was again given the opportunity to impact another life. On February 23, 2010, renowned transplant surgeon of Yale/New Haven Hospital, Dr. Sukru Emre took the left lobe of Harry’s liver and transplanted it to an eleven-month-old, ten pound, baby girl. She would not have survived another month without a new liver. This procedure made Harry one of the very first, living, dual organ donor.
Experiencing firsthand the effect his selfless acts had on these two lives, Harry knew he had to do all he could to inform and encourage others to become living organ donors. He began by participating regularly in numerous panel discussions which ultimately led to the establishment of the National Living Organ Donors Foundation. Our intent is to encourage people all across the country to consider living, as well as all organ donations through awareness, education and support.
…so another may live.