Update from Jeff Dobyns – Kidney Donation

Well, now that I’m recovered and back to work, I wanted to give a quick update and thank everyone for their prayers and encouragement.  Several years ago, I felt God place on my heart the desire to donate a kidney.  I would often see billboards, bumper stickers, social media posts and even a man wearing a T-shirt that said a loved one needed a healthy kidney.  I completed an online application and then a box with a lot of required bloodwork was delivered to the house.  My wife Amy had questions 😊. A journey was started that I had not really planned on taking – but what an adventure! 

Three weeks ago, I went to Vanderbilt Transplant Center and donated my left kidney.  It was painless, I feel great, and hopefully I can become an advocate for others to consider getting involved.  There are more than 200,000 people waiting for a kidney, the average wait is more than five years, and people die every day while waiting. There is an amazing program called The National Kidney Registry, which is a database of patients that need a kidney- they typically have a friend or family member that will donate on their behalf but are not a match to them. They are then connected with others across the country who are a match. Ultimately, a chain of donors and recipients is created – it’s brilliant.  In my case, I was the perfect match for a man in Pennsylvania, whose family member was a perfect match for a person in Ohio, and, in total, there were 14 surgeries (seven recipients and six other donors) in the chain that started with one donation.

Amy has been the most incredible teammate, caregiver, and advocate. She is so strong, daring, brave, and willing to walk the talk. Hopefully, our kids have learned about the need to help others and not only think about themselves.  This has been the most incredible example of the body of Christ coming together to help our family and it was definitely a team effort. All the prayers. The encouragement. My work friends stepping in. The surgeons and exceptional nurses. The kind notes, meals, calls, and messages were so important.  Thank you for the continued support and for the prayers. They were needed and super effective.

My buddy Dave Barnes wrote the #1 song that Blake Shelton cut, “God Gave Me You”. I told Dave he needs to write a kidney donation campaign song titled “God Gave Me Two”. We have two kidneys. You only need 20% of one and there are 200,000 that need a one.  

People say, “what made you do this?” and as I reflect on this journey, three thoughts come to mind:

  1. My grandma wasn’t wealthy, but she was such an example of generosity. She had plaques in her little home honoring her for her tireless commitment to donating gallons of blood throughout her life. She made the world a better place.
  2. My old friend Carl Carlson always told me, “Jeff, at the end of the day, all the matters is family, friends, and what we do for Christ Almighty.” And I believe that to be fact. 100%.
  3. When asked why he robbed banks, the famous bank robber Willie Sutton replied, “because that is where the money is.”  So, it was simple really…..we do these things because we have surplus and others need help.

To God alone be the glory.  He is the one who gave me two good kidneys when I only needed one. 

I am so thankful for all the love!

Jeff Dobyns

President, Southwestern Investment Group

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