The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

We Want You(r Kidney)

By Amanda Dickman in News on Apr 20, 2007 4:35PM

Tom Simon does a lot of things right. He investigates white collar crimes for the FBI, volunteers for a youth crisis hotline, biked thousands of miles for AIDS charities, and donates his organs to perfect strangers … just because he can. But whatever you do, don't call him a hero.

2007_4_unclesam.bmpAccording to Simon's blog, The Kidney Chronicles, his desire to "help others and alleviate suffering" led him to consider handing over one of his kidneys. He initially approached the transplant department at Northwestern Memorial Hospital to be a "non-directed" donor — meaning that he wouldn't have any say in who received his kidney. While this would be all well and good, he also discovered the option to pick the recipient through a website where hopeful recipients post profiles telling their story and need for organs. That's where he found Brenda Lagrimas.

For years, Lagrimas, 31, has been receiving dialysis three to four times a week. Kidney failure put her on the waiting list for a kidney, along with over 70,000 others. Simon chose Lagrimas because she is young, with the hopes of starting a family, and is a fellow in the law enforcement world.

Simon makes a point to say that he is not crazy or heroic. He is merely doing a public service. He stresses that this procedure poses very little risk to the donor with virtually no long-term side effects. The remaining kidney simply picks up the slack, and there you go! You're out there making urine just like all of the two-kidneyed folks.

Here at Chicagoist, we have family members who are alive today due to the generosity of organ donors (hey, Chris!), so we couldn't be more thrilled to hear about this. People making the decision to hand over their organs after death is fantastic, but live tissue donation? That's where it's at. While organs from cadavers greatly help the cause, live tissue donation offers a better chance of transplant success. And, frankly, not enough people allow for the use of their organs once they pass on.

Now, we don't expect everyone to run out and get their kidney sliced out. But, c'mon, at least sign those licenses and make sure to express your donation wishes to your family. You really can save a life.

Image via