Caleb's Story

As an altruistic kidney donor, Caleb Atha set off a chain of donations that gave seven people life-saving kidneys.

As an altruistic kidney donor, Caleb Atha set off a chain of donations that gave seven people life-saving kidneys.

Name: Caleb Atha    
City/Town: Florence, Kentucky
Current Age: 30
Occupation: Banker   
Date of Donation: February 27, 2018
Hospital and Location: The Christ Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio 


Did you know your recipient?
I did not, but I hope to hear from the recipient soon. It would be nice to know that my kidney went to a good home. My donation actually set off a chain involving seven pairs. The end goal is for all of us to meet up and start a band.

What made you decide to donate?
Downsizing! If I don’t plan on using something within three months I give it away. Honestly, I watched a segment on dialysis and am a firm believer that if you can do something to help someone you should.

 Was it a tough decision?
No. People deserve to be happy, it’s worth a couple weeks of discomfort to improve the life of someone else.

What were your biggest concerns about donating?
I’m a little nervous about something happening to my remaining kidney, but I guess its motivation to avoid salt. Kidney stones are my kryptonite.

How did your family and friends react when you told them you were going to donate?
Ha. Uh… concerned mostly. They didn’t seem to understand why I would want to donate and I think they were worried that I wouldn’t make it through the surgery. Their concerns were based on nothing.

How did your surgery go?
Great! I was out of the hospital in a couple days. Pain and scarring wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. 

What was your recovery like while you were in the hospital?
I know most people don’t like going to the hospital, but I thought it was great. People came to see me every few hours, food was delivered to me in bed, and I was allotted enough time to start a new book!

What was your recovery like at home?
I was basically stuck on the couch as my cats circled me looking for opportunities to jump on my stomach. When I wasn’t fending off cats I was watching movies that would normally be considered pretty bad, but oddly enjoyable while on valium.

What was the most difficult part of recovery?
I don’t like to ask people for help, but turns out it’s hard to do things on your own after losing an organ.

When did you return to work?
I returned after two weeks, which I wouldn’t recommend for most people.

How long was the process from making the first contact about donating until your surgery? About 7 months.

Is there anything about being a kidney donor that's surprised you?
I was surprised how many tests I had to go through before I could donate.

Would you do it again?
No doubt.