Camden Underwood’s Story

For several years, the thought of becoming a living kidney donor lurked somewhere in the back of my mind. However, I always viewed it as an extreme decision. That was until the day I was renewing my car registration online. Suddenly, I found myself in a panic, thinking I hadn’t registered as an organ donor. So, instinctively, I clicked on the Donate Life button.

Later in the year, Donate Life America – the nonprofit organization that registers organ donors and educates about organ donation – added a new option to its online registration. Now, not only could you register to become an organ donor in death, but you could also register to become a living kidney donor.

So, on July 12th, at the age of 29, I became the first person to have signed up as a living donor through this new option and to have donated my kidney. The surgery took place at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center.

Upon recovery from my kidney donation surgery at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center in July, I reflected on my decision. There’s an urgent need for more kidneys, and while living donations for family members are commonplace, this new program encourages more people to consider being living donors, significantly reducing the waiting times for a kidney transplant.

Clicking that button was more than expressing a minor interest; it was about exploring the opportunity to potentially save a life and understanding the implications for my own. As I passed each screening, I felt my anticipation and excitement build.

After successfully donating my kidney, knowing that I couldn’t be told who the recipient was, the experience felt incredibly rewarding. The pain was bearable, and I recovered well. The scar, a small 3- or 4-inch one near my belly button, is my lifelong monument to the decision I made to help another human being. It stands there to remind me of the decision I made – a decision I will always be proud of.

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