LEDGEDALE - Many people donate funds to organizations to help people find an organ donor. Some people donate blood to give the gift the life to another person. But, would you go so far as to donate an organ yourself to a person you had barely met?
That’s exactly what 25-year-old Doug DiPalma did this past year. And all it took to start the process was a drive to Union City, NJ to put a downpayment on a car.
DiPalma had seen the listing for the car online and decide to make the drive to New Jersey to put a down payment on the car.
“When I got to the house, my car broke down,” he said. The man he was buying the car from was all to eager to help a stranded traveler.
“He fed me, called his mechanic to come fix my car,” DiPalma said. “They got me back on the road.”
While he was temporarily stranded, a discussion started about he car owner’s father, Ron Simpson. “I heard his dad [Simpson] was on dialysis” and that “no family member was a good match” to be a potential donor. At the time, Simpson only had about a year left to live.
DiPalma told the son, after the kindness he had shown him, he would get tested and if he was a match he would donate his kidney to Simpson.
He underwent four to five months of testing to determine if he could be a good donor. “There were a lot of blood tests,” DiPalma said.
Much to his joy, “Test after test came back showing I was a really good match,” he said.
When it came time to decide whether or not he would be donating his kidney, he said he “prayed a lot about it. I put it in God’s hands” and that “I couldn’t think of a good reason not to do it.”
About one month ago, DiPalma went into surgery and Simpson was given the kidney.
“Everything went really well,” he said. With the gift of a new kidney, Simpson has had around another 10 years added to his life. DiPalma is recovering nicely at home.
When asked if he would do it again, DiPalma’s answer was a resounding yes. He admits that “It’s not a common thing for a person to do,” but knowing that he has helped a person in such a positive way is enough.
“Adding a decade to his life, for only a month or two of inconvenience for me is worth it,” DiPalma said. “I have no regrets.”