Steve Aman’s inspiration to give one of his kidneys to a stranger is a central tenet of Native American life called the Giveaway:
“‘If you have something you don’t use,’ he explains, ‘then you put it someplace where others can take it if they need it.’ Steve says his lifesaving deed was just that — a giveaway. As he sees it, he had an extra kidney and figured he’d drop it off in the community free box.”
Not many of us will make the choice that Aman and others profiled in Marc Barasch’s book Field Notes on The Compassionate Life did to give away a kidney while still alive and kicking. As Barasch explains, “Evolution, master of redundancy, has seen to it that you only really need one kidney, but if both of them go, you’re toast.” But within a matter of minutes, we can register to become an organ or tissue donor and provide a second chance of life to people once we’ve gone on to the next world.
In the U.S., you can register to be an organ and tissue donor by clicking here. You’ll need your driver’s license number to complete the process. By Googling the name of another country with the words “organ donation”, you can find similar online organ and tissue donor registration sites outside of the U.S.
In the words of Pete Dubrowitz, who received Aman’s kidney, “I gotta tell you: This is the gift that keeps on giving.”