Greg's Living Donor Kidney Transplant Story: The Blessing of a Church Community

Living kidney recipient - church member

Greg Newcomer, a kidney transplant recipient, shares his experience of kidney disease and what receiving a kidney transplant looked like for him.

I had kidney disease. I had had it since I was 38. It is insipid - it kind of runs you down. Eventually it makes your kidneys curl up and stop working, and makes several other things shut down in your body. Last year my good docs told me I had to get a kidney transplant or go on dialysis.

One Sunday we were at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Cherry Hill where we are longtime members. We shared our “hard news” during coffee hour with a few friends.

Four members of this church almost immediately said that week, “I will give you my kidney. I’ve got an extra one! You can depend on me.” 

All four got tested at the hospital. These are the brave people who don't run away from a fire, but instead run towards it to put it out.

Chris Spirgel of Moorestown got tested and retested, and asked more questions than I did.

On April 30, Chris donated her kidney to me. This is an act of generosity and dedication that astounds me. 

The doctors have confirmed that the kidney Chris has given and the one she will keep are both very good. We are each recovering very well.

I am so thankful for the many folks from my church, the Moorestown First United Methodist Church, Friday morning men’s group and the other Moorestown folks who have been very kind during this time. I am very thankful for the caring of my wife Nancy and our family members who have given me the best of care during my recovery. 

Thinking about all of this, I wanted to share this story and ask anyone who was curious about kidney donations to learn more from the following resources: 

There are 100,000 people waiting for a kidney every day. They are on a list that has a typical waiting time of five years.

I am grateful, humble, and overcome by this gift of life. Thanks to everyone who had a part in this journey.

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The Penn Medicine Transplant blog features short postings with news about the transplant program at Penn Medicine, notices about upcoming events and health information. Subscribe to the blog and stay connected with Penn's Transplant Program!

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