The very first thing my boss said to me when I told him I was donating my kidney to my tenant, James Love, was, "You know you don't have any vacation days or sick days left."  

I asked the transplant coordinator at the hospital if there were any resources available to donors to help offset the lost wages and was told there were not.  She said most people just use up their vacation and sick days (I had just been reminded I didn't have any!) and that she would understand if I no longer wished to donate due to the financial burden.  She said it happens all the time.  Well, not donating was not an option! No one should have to say they can't help save another human being just because they can't afford to take the time off work.   

I am blessed with a large network of family and friends who all rallied around me to make sure I could make ends meet, and the transplant went ahead on October 22, 2009.

I did some research and found out that while living donors legally cannot and morally should not be paid for donating an organ, there is a provision in the National Organ Transplantation Act (As amended by the Charlie W. Norwood Living Organ Donation Act – January 2008) Section 274e which specifically states that “The term “valuable consideration” does not include the … lost wages incurred by the donor of a human organ in connection with the donation of the organ.”

I then decided to form the Heal With Love Foundation, which is named after my recipient, so that no one else would have to worry about how to pay their bills while they are trying to recover from this major, life-changing surgery.  

The Heal With Love Foundation reimburses donors for their lost wages during their recovery from transplant surgery allowing them to remain focused on successful healing.

While not everyone can donate a kidney, we can all help support someone else who can.  Please consider giving to those who give the gift of life to others.

Barbara Thomas,
Founder and President
Heal With Love Foundation

Click on the links below for related information and other helpful web sites. 
James Love, Barbara Thomas