By Molly Daly
KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. (CBS) — A special luncheon and ceremony honoring the region’s living organ donors was held in King of Prussia on Sunday afternoon.
Gift of Life President Howard Nathan says the ceremony is called “Gifts of Life, Acts of Love.”
“This is a way to pay recognition to those people who have given of themselves,” he said, “and saved somebody else’s life.”
Meredith Dankanis is one of them. Two years ago, she donated a kidney to her then-15-month-old nephew, Matthew, who was born in kidney failure (read related story).
‘It was a complete no-brainer,” Dankanis said. “There wasn’t even a decision to be made. I didn’t even know my blood type at the time. And I just said, ‘Even if it’s not a match, he’s still getting it. Somebody’s getting my kidney.'”
Matthew’s mom, Jennifer Donahue, says it’s transformed life for the little boy who needed constant care, and couldn’t go out for fear of infection.
“Oh, God, he HAS a life,” she said. “Matthew goes to the mall with me, and Matthew goes to the Please Touch Museum and the Zoo. He couldn’t do that before.”
KYW Newsradio’s Jim Melwert was the keynote speaker.
“I gave a kidney to my aunt six years ago,” Jim said. “She needed a transplant, looked at other family members. They, for one reason or another, couldn’t give. And I was a viable donor, and very excited to do it.”
In giving his kidney, Jim got something in return.
“You hear people, when they go through cancer, or an awful disease, say they realize to not take things for granted, like it’s a second chance,” Jim said. “I kind of got that awareness without having to go through some awful disease.”
His Aunt, Jean, wasn’t able to be there. She, and her healthy kidney, had bigger fish to fry.
“She’s in Australia,” Jim said. “I can’t imagine there are too many other people whose one kidney has never been across the equator and one has. I can’t imagine that happens very often.”