Donna's Story

Donna Hoagland, right, and recipient, Anahita

Donna Hoagland, right, and recipient, Anahita

Name: Donna Hoagland
City/Town: Jupiter, Florida
Current Age: 48
Occupation: Teacher
Date of Donation: December 19, 2017
Hospital and Location: Gainesville, Florida, Shands Hospital at the University of Florida


Did you know your recipient? 
I barely knew her—she is the mother of one of my students.

What made you decide to donate? 
I just wanted to help her get better.

Was it a tough decision? 
It was not a tough decision at all because the only thing that would be able to help her get better was for her to get another kidney.

What were your biggest concerns about donating? 
My biggest concern was that the transplant would not be successful—that her body would reject my kidney or that my kidney wouldn’t work.

How did your family and friends react when you told them you were going to donate? 
My family was supportive and not surprised. My friends were pretty surprised but know how I am so they knew I would want to help her.

How did your surgery go? 
Thank goodness, the surgery went as planned. It took a little longer than expected. (It was supposed to be two–three hours, but it ended up taking four hours.) I do not know why it took longer.  

What was your recovery like while you were in the hospital? 
Recovery was okay. I was in the hospital for two days. I was sore but nothing unbearable.  

What was your recovery like at home? 
Since the transplant hospital was four hours away, I had to stay in Gainesville for up to two weeks in case of any complications. (My husband, kids and I stayed in a hotel.) Thankfully, I was able to go home four days after surgery, but I had to return to Gainesville for a routine post-op checkup a week later.

What was the most difficult part of recovery? 
My most difficult part of recovery was my reaction to anesthesia and some random internal pains.  I had a bad reaction to the anesthesia which caused me to have nausea and vomiting the night of surgery but it was gone after that. I also had some random internal pains (probably from where they moved things around to get to my kidney).

When did you return to work? 
I returned to work three weeks after surgery. 

How long was the process from making the first contact about donating until your surgery? 
It took about seven months from the time I first spoke with the transplant coordinator until surgery. Part of the delay was that my recipient was not yet on the transplant list when I first contacted the hospital. She had to get her physical clearance to have the transplant surgery before she could be placed on the transplant list.

Is there anything about being a kidney donor that's surprised you? 
The only thing that has surprised me about being a kidney donor is the surprised responses I have received from others.

Would you do it again? 
I would do it again in a heartbeat. 

Watch CBS News' story about Donna's kidney donation.