Justin was 9 years old when he watched his dad Craig Hostert battle kidney disease. For two and a half years, Craig was hooked up to a dialysis machine three days each week for 4 hours having his blood cleansed and returned to his body. For Craig, the only way to live without dialysis was a kidney transplant.
When they told Justin that Craig’s wife was donating a kidney to his dad, he “stormed out of the room, crying and stomping his feet” Kathleen Hostert said, “We didn’t know what he was thinking.”
It turned out, Justin was jealous. His dream was to save his dad’s life.
In 2014, 17,105 kidney transplants took place in the United States with 11,570 coming from deceased donors and 5,535 from living donors like Kathleen. The 5 years prognosis for people receiving kidney transplants is 83.4% from deceased kidney donors and 92% from living donors. Of these amazing living donors, 181 anonymously donated their kidney without having any relationship to the recipient.
After the successful kidney transplant, the couple started a fundraiser run/walk to tell people about organ donations. In its first year, it attracted a few hundred people. Over the years, it grew into a massive event – the largest of its kind in California. It was 13 years after the transplant when Craig and Kathleen stood on the stage to address the crowd of 10,000 attendees at 10th annual Donate Life event. They had become the face of organ donations, yet their story was about to take an even more dramatic turn.
The kidney Craig received from Kathleen was failing. Craig’s physician predicted that he would likely die if his kidney wasn’t replaced again. This time, Justin wanted to step in to give his father another kidney and the gift of life.
While living kidney donations are now performed laparoscopically, it is still a major surgery and a loss of a crucial organ. Most living donors return to their daily lives in a few weeks — and have few if any complications. Jeff Moyer, a living kidney donor, experienced nerve damage during surgery. Moyer says he has daily pain that leaves him virtually doubled over. It has affected his relationships and his ability to work. With the potential of complications, some suffering from kidney disease refuse to let their loved ones to take the risk of an organ donation.
Justin Hostert had the three hour surgery to have his kidney removed for his dad. “Nothing I ever had to think about twice or ever question doing. It’s my dad, who wouldn’t do it?” Justin said.
Our modern day has brought us frequent change, complexity and new definitions of personal well-being. For most of the history of mankind, it was about food, shelter, safety and family. Now our personal well-being is tied to fitting in each of our dreams: earning a diploma, a good job, having our own homes, being a good parent and spouse, a career with a purpose, creation (i.e., book, side business), running marathons and coaching youth soccer teams.
Understanding how our dreams can impact our personal well-being may inspire the will and tenacity to pursue a dream. It may be what you need to make almost anything happen.