Kent State student donates kidney, present for class four days later

Martin demonstrates her positive attitude while resting in PACU the Cleveland Clinic. 

Brynn Pennell

This July, Maggie Martin got her test results back from the Cleveland Clinic.

She was approved to donate her kidney to her father, James. 

“I had a transplant coordinator, a social worker; my doctor and I met with the surgeon who would be doing the surgery — that’s like your transplant team,” Maggie, a sophomore interior design major, said. “I got a call from them at the end of July, and they told me I was approved and asked when I wanted to do it.”

Maggie hoped to have the surgery before school started, but the earliest the Clinic could fit her in was Aug. 24, the second day of fall classes at Kent State.

“I knew I really wanted to do this,” Maggie said. “The fact that I knew this would help my dad feel better made it feel better for me.” “He would be sick all the time. He works the night shift from 3 p.m. to midnight. He would get done at the end of the week and be so exhausted, and I hated seeing him that way.”

At 7 a.m. on Aug. 24, Maggie went in for laparoscopic surgery to donate her left kidney to her father. He went into surgery at 11 a.m. to receive it.

Both Martins woke up from surgery with no complications and are healing well. Maggie left the Clinic around 4 p.m. Monday to return to her home in Stow, just four days before she started her fall semester courses.

Maggie’s mother, Nancy Martin, wasn’t sure if she wanted Maggie to go back so soon. Her main concern was Maggie’s immune system being weak from surgery, causing her to get sick.

“I kept getting emails from all my teachers and I was like, ‘This stuff looks hard. I should probably get back there,’” Maggie said.

Maggie was ready to get back, as she wanted to make sure she did not fall far behind.

“I am mentally great,” Maggie said. “I’ve had a lot of help from all my friends. They’ve been really helpful keeping me cheered up and everything.”

When asked if Maggie had any idea of ever donating an organ to someone, she was quick to say she never could have imagined it.

“I really didn’t, … and I was thinking this is maybe my purpose,” Maggie said. “My mom even told me (she and my dad) weren’t expecting me to be here. I think it is cool because God knew what He was doing, and no one knew I would be around to help my dad.”

Brynn Pennell is an assigning editor. Contact her at [email protected].