Update: Kent State sophomore recovering from kidney donation


Photo by Jess Yanesh.

Brittney Trojanowski

Read our previous article on Leah Green’s donation

KSU student to donate kidney over winter break

Two surgeries, one new kidney and 80 staples later, Leah Green’s step-grandfather is doing just fine after a life-changing operation in December.

Green, sophomore early childhood education major, spent her winter break in the hospital after receiving news that her grandfather, who married into the family 18 years ago, needed a kidney transplant.

Green selflessly stepped up.

“He always says he’s doing better than the day before,” Green said.

Paul Thompson said he is back to driving again but has to watch what he eats.

“I’m doing great, I don’t really have a lot of pain,” Thompson said.

Green believes that if someone can save another person’s life, how could someone say no? Green said she thinks of giving her kidney to her grandfather as she would think of giving someone $10 or an extra T-shirt.

Prior to the surgery, the number of cysts that had developed on Thompson’s kidneys were becoming painful, and each kidney weighed about 10 pounds, Green said.

Doctors said it is completely unheard of for the first person who wants to donate their kidney to be an exact match to the recipient, especially if the potential donor is not a blood relative, Green’s grandmother Bonnie Thompson said.

To be a potential donor, both parties’ blood and tissue types must match up, Thompson said.

Green said she was an exact match.

“From the very beginning, she was convinced that she was going to be a match,” Thompson said. “There was never a question in her mind, and she just seemed to know that from her soul from the very beginning.”

Even though Green’s family was slightly hesitant about her being the donor, she told them that giving her kidney was what she wanted to do.

Green decided she wanted to donate her kidney as soon as she found out that her grandfather needed a new one.

“She convinced all of us that it would absolutely be no problem and that she would be just fine for donating it, and it would give him a complete change of life for him,” said Thompson.

Green’s mother, Shannon, said she would have donated, but she is the wrong blood type. She said she is very proud of her daughter for doing this.

“I think I was little more nervous about it than she was,” Green said. “It’s just a motherly instinct to protect your children.”

Green said she didn’t think of it as a big deal until the week before the surgery, but her friends and family came together to support her and be there for her.

“I don’t know if I was scared, but I was nervous, because they tell you, ‘you might not wake up.’ But I was just ready for my grandpa to feel better,” Green said.

The doctors told her that undergoing the surgery meant she needed to lose weight, or she could develop diabetes. So far, she’s lost 35 pounds, and her goal is to lose 85 pounds by the time she graduates.

“It showed me that if I can get through this, then I can get through anything,” said Green.

Green said she does not regret the decision at all, and she would make the same decision 10 times over again.

After all of this, Green said she’s eager to start to give blood again. She said she is always giving blood whenever she can do it because she loves giving back.

“The change in yourself that you see is not even comparable,” Green said. “I hope people will help people.”

Thompson said that Leah is an inspiration; she is extremely giving, and if she can make someone else’s life more bearable by giving, then she would do it.

“She’s a wonderful kid,” Thompson said. “It’s amazing that she would do something like this.”

Thompson said he considers Green his own “personal angel.” Although he did not want to take her kidney from her, Green would not take “no” for an answer.

Bonnie is grateful to have both her husband and Leah in good health.

“She is an angel sent from God to our family in every way, not just because she donated the kidney, it’s just because the way she is,” Thompson said. “She’s amazing from deep down in her soul.”

Contact Brittney Trojanowski at [email protected].