Living Donor Day

There has been a special day added to Donate Life Month celebrations in April this year; Donate Life Living Donor Day on April 7! This is a day to recognize and express our gratitude for the thousands of selfless individuals who choose to become living donors to help someone in need. Living donors are lifelines for those in need.


What is living donation? Living donation is when a donor gives a kidney, a lobe of lung, portion of the liver, pancreas, or intestine to a family member, friend, or stranger as an alternative to waiting on the national transplant waiting list. Living donation allows more patients to be moved off of the waiting list, thus increasing the existing organ supply. Learn more at www.thellf.org/livingdonation.


To celebrate, we are spotlighting several of our living donor Donate Life Ambassadors. Read on to hear their stories!


Lynn Whiten


Why did you decide to donate?

  • “I’ve always been an advocate and supporter of organ donation. I didn’t hesitate to become an organ donor when I received my driver’s licenses at the age of sixteen. I had no idea I would one day volunteer for an organization such as The LLF. My cousin (who happens to live on the same street) was in need of a kidney. He received a kidney from his father thirteen years ago, but it was failing. He is a husband, father of two teenage children and a police officer who was receiving at home dialysis at night in order to work during the day with limited activity. FAMILY and LOVE is why I decided to donate. It wasn’t a hard decision; it was the ONLY decision.”

What would you say to others considering becoming a living donor?

  • “This is by far the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. The process was unbelievable easy. Some may wonder if you can live the same lifestyle as you did before with only one kidney. I would say better… after only eight weeks of donating my kidney, I ran a 5K. Over the past five years, I ran my first of many half marathons and in 2020 I ran my first marathon—Marine Corps Marathon. I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been.”

What has been the most meaningful part of your experience as a living donor?

  • “The joy of seeing my cousin’s smile at family gatherings, seeing him mow his yard as I drive past his house, watching him pack his car to take his daughter to college, and seeing him celebrate another birthday after five years with his new kidney.”


Tim Lund


Why did you decide to donate?

  • “I decided to donate my liver to help a friend in dire need; more specifically, a friend’s son, who was very close in age to one of my sons (21), far too young to be fighting for his life. I also donated for the same reason I regularly donate blood—namely, that I may one day be a grateful recipient."


What would you say to others considering becoming a living donor?

  • "I would urge prospective donors to consider this, to put themselves in the place of those who, often through no fault of their own, are facing debilitating illness or death (unless someone steps forward). We never know what awaits us in life and, by donating an organ to a grateful family, you get to share in their happiness. This is a wonderful feeling that, for me, has recurred for me whenever I think back on that September day in 2016. I believe it will accompany me for the rest of my life.”


Josi Langford


Why did you decide to donate?

  • “Donating was never a question for me, my dad was dying. I could not imagine my world without him in it and healthy. The day we met with the transplant team was the day I decided I would do anything in my power (which wasn’t much) to become his living liver donor. During the entire process they ask you repeatedly if you are sure that you want to be a donor. I have never been surer of anything in my life.”

What would you say to others considering becoming a living donor?

  • “The thing that I would say to others that are considering becoming a donor is this… you have to also think about yourself. I focused so much of my attention on my dad and doing what I needed to do for him, that I didn’t pay enough attention to what was actually going to happen to ME. I went through all of the steps and all of the testing without asking enough questions about myself. Ask all the questions. Even the ones that you think are dumb. Ask about the scar, ask about how you will physically feel, ask about how you will emotionally feel, ask everything big or small.”

What has been the most meaningful part of your experience as a living donor?

  • “The most meaningful part of my experience as a living liver donor was getting my dad back. I have spoken to my dad almost every day of my life except for when he was sick. He had encephalopathy so he wasn’t really my dad anymore... I couldn’t have a conversation with him. However, when we were in the ICU, my nurse took me to see him and he was my dad again. I have a picture of the two of us from that day (we are both full of tubes and in hospital gowns/beds that I hated when it was taken) but now is one of my favorite pictures. It was the minute I knew that everything was going to be okay. That we all were going to be okay. And I would do it all over again.”

Janet Sommer


Why did you decide to donate?

  • “I donated because I watched an in-real-time documentary of a kidney patient awaiting a transplant. I had no idea dialysis was not a cure and its effects on the body. Once I understood the gravity of dialysis, there was no turning back! And my faith sealed that choice.”

What would you say to others considering becoming a living donor?

  • “There are things in life I regret, but I undoubtedly know donating will not be on that list.”

What has been the most meaningful part of your experience as a living donor?

  • “The most meaningful part of my experience has been to see, firsthand, the impact of this gift. My recipient bought a home, became engaged and is thriving!”

Matt Kopp

Why did you decide to donate?

  • “Whenever I speak to people about living donation, they always talk to me about how they don't think they could ever do something like that. I always tell them that they would; they just haven't been in that situation when a family member or friend or whomever needs them in that way. In my life, of course there were doubts and insecurities and fears and questions about donating my kidney. However, that all stemmed from being scared of the unknown and the ultimate impact it would have on my health. I believe there's a higher purpose to our lives and to do right by others who love you is the essence of what makes us human. When you have a call to participate in something greater than yourself, the reasons why you shouldn't partake in it will never be greater than the reasons you should.”

What would you say to others considering becoming a living donor?

  • “Depending on who you are donating to and how sick they are, it could be a long road of medical testing, irritating medical staff, and let downs. However, if you are able to donate and go through the process, there will be a day when you look back and think about how you'd do it all over again if you could. And that makes it entirely worth it.”

What has been the most meaningful part of your experience as a living donor?

  • “I was in a paired kidney exchange. I live in Baltimore. I have no idea who in California received my kidney, not to mention the other people in the chain who received kidneys all because of living donors. Six people received kidneys that day and if that isn't a meaningful experience, then I have no idea what is.”