Their dad had a transplant in 2011 but this time was too sick for surgery
It’s tragic to lose a parent at any age, especially as a child. So, when two Illinois sisters lost their father they wanted to find a way to honor him — so they decided to donate their kidneys to strangers in need.
Hannah and Bethany Goralski’s father, Mark, died in September 2018 after a battle with Crohn’s disease and subsequent kidney failure. Bethany had been prepared to donate her kidney to him but he was too sick to be considered a candidate for surgery, according to Good Morning America.
Both sisters decided to undergo procedures a day apart hoping another family wouldn’t have to go through a similar situation. Hannah called Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Illinois to set up their surgeries a month after her father died.
“Knowing a lot of people who have been affected by organ transplant, it felt selfish to keep my kidney,” she said.“You are just in a lull and a loss and you’re thinking about what am I going to do to stop thinking about this person. My dad was always giving, he was always helping others and I thought, what a great way to honor him.”
Over 100,000 kidney disease patients are on transplant lists across the nation, with less than 20,000 transplants being performed annually, according to data from United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). In order to be eligible to receive a kidney transplant, you must have chronic irreversible kidney disease and either need to be on dialysis or require dialysis in the near future and be healthy enough to go through the surgery itself.
“We just want to make sure two less families had to go through what we went through,” Bethany said. The pair are also encouraging others to look into becoming organ donors. “I would tell them to do it, I don’t regret it one bit,” Bethany said, admitting there are “definitely risks” in undergoing the procedure., noting because of their age and good health they recovered fairly quickly.
According to the Mayo Clinic, kidney donation involves “major surgery and there are risks, including bleeding and infection,” however most kidney donors recover with minimal complications. The procedure typically involves an overnight hospital stay and, with time, “your remaining kidney will enlarge as it takes on additional blood flow and filtration of wastes.”
“I hope he would be really proud,” Bethany Goralski said. “I thought ‘Why wait,’” Hannah added. “If someone’s dying now and I can help them now, hopefully by then when I’m older I’ll look back and say, ‘I’m glad I didn’t wait.’”