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How Organ Donation Saves Lives | Why a Park City Fireman Decided to Donate His Own Kidney to a Complete Stranger

Apr 19, 2021, 12:54 PM
Organ Donation - Kidney Donation...
Photo: DonorConnect

This article about organ donation is presented by DonorConnect.


Park City Fire District Engineer Henry Evans has run into many burning buildings to save strangers. So when his cousin went into renal failure and needed a kidney, Henry responded without hesitation. And Henry volunteered to give his cousin one of his kidneys. The problem was that Henry and his cousin were not a match.

What is a Non-Directed Kidney Donor?

Henry has AB negative blood. At less than 1% of the population, it’s the rarest blood type in the country. That prevents him from donating to his cousin or anyone else who is not AB negative. But the idea of helping another person in need of a kidney was already firmly rooted in Henry’s mind. So on February 2nd, 2021, he underwent the procedure to donate one of his kidneys at the University of Utah Hospital. He was now a non-directed kidney donor.

Non-directed kidney donation is the process of a living donor voluntarily giving one of their kidneys to a stranger with the goal of starting a non-directed donor chain. The chain forms when other people, like Henry, also donate an organ to a person they don’t know.

“It’s super safe and the more I went through the process, the less trepidation I had. Donating my kidney was a lot less risky than a lot of the things I do in my job every day,” said Henry Evans.

Inspired by his Wife

Henry’s true inspiration came from his wife, Lisa.  Nine years ago, at Intermountain Medical Center, Lisa donated one of her kidneys to her aunt who needed a kidney to stay alive. Henry watched the process play out and saw the impact it had on both Lisa and her aunt. He decided to look at donating his own kidney.

“One of the things that I’ve always loved about her is that she’s the most thoughtful, selfless person I’ve ever met. She’ll always go out of her way for somebody. She’s always thinking of other people so to go from just being nice to people and being thoughtful to doing something like this, I was like, Whoa, that’s unreal,” said Henry.

Henry and Lisa are telling their story because they know that there are many selfless individuals who would also be willing to donate an organ to save a life if they knew how safe and easy it was for them. They want everyone to know that it is low risk and yields marvelous and life-changing rewards.

“You literally save someone’s life. If my kidney came back every year, I would just keep donating it. It’s so fulfilling. I don’t know of anyone who would regret doing it. There was never a time through the whole process where I had second thoughts,” said Henry.

Henry and Lisa Say They Aren’t Heroes Because of Organ Donation

Lisa and Henry both dismiss the term “hero.” They believe they are no different than anyone else and that anyone would do what they did to save a family member. And hopefully, someone will do something to save them should they be in the same position. There are many good people out there that are willing to sacrifice so much more than they realize…to help someone else out. Just like Lisa and Henry.

For more information on how organ, eye, and tissue donation saves lives, please visit www.yesutah.org.

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How Organ Donation Saves Lives | Why a Park City Fireman Decided to Donate His Own Kidney to a Complete Stranger