If you haven’t ever gone through the process of being tested as a donor, you might not realize what all goes into it.

I spent two days in NYC getting blood drawn, scans run, and poked and prodded both physically and mentally.

It is recommended that you bring your “care partner” with you for this process, not only because it can be nice to have that moral support, but because they need to be aware of what you’re going to need during the healing process.

I left my care partner on the west coast in order to save money on airfare.  However, for my last two consultations, one with the social worker and one with the psychiatrist, he needed to be available by Skype or phone to be a participant in those meetings.

After being questioned extensively throughout the 48 hour period by several different medical professionals as to why I am wanting to donate my liver to someone I have never met, it is finally his turn to answer the questions.

During our consultation with the psychiatrist, she asked him why he thought I wanted to do this and he told us the story of the starfish.

(Not going to lie, when he began, “it’s like the story of the starfish…” the psychiatrist and I exchanged a look and I couldn’t help but think, “oh good lord, where is this going?”)

He continued and told us the following story.

One day a man was walking along the beach, when he noticed a girl picking up and gently throwing things into the ocean.  Approaching the girl he asked,

“Young lady, what are you doing?”

The girl replied,

“Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they will die.”

The man laughed to himself and said,

“Don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make any difference!”

After listening politely, the little girl bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the surf. Then smiling she said,

“I made a difference for that one!”

This is Julie’s starfish.

I’m not going to lie, I got teary eyed (actually I might have just gotten teary eyed as I typed this out) because it was at this point that I realized that someone finally “got it” even if he didn’t fully understand it.

Even if you can’t donate an organ to someone, I want to encourage you to take the time and figure out how you can make a difference for someone!

And if you’re interested in becoming a living donor, you can register here or contact us with any questions you might have!

All profits from the sales of merchandise support Living Donor Match.org.

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