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Reserve Citizen Airman donates kidney, saves life

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Randall Moose
  • 301st Fighter Wing

Lt. Col. Jason Elmore, 301st Fighter Wing Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program victim advocate, donated one of his kidneys to his mother-in-law in 2020.

Although blood relatives are a potential starting point for organ transplant matches, donor lists or distant relatives can also serve as candidates. Elmore was found to be the best kidney donor match for his mother-in-law.

“Initially, I was not the original thought or choice as a donor,” said Elmore. “My wife went through the process first, and then her brother but neither of them were the match.”

According to kidneyregistry.org, kidney donors must be in good physical and mental health. Donors undergo a screening process to determine if the donor is a candidate for transplant.

“I was tested, and surprisingly, I matched and could donate to my mother-in-law,” said Elmore. “I knew my choice to donate would save her life and there was no question that this was what I was called to do.”

Elmore explained his preparation and mindset leading up to the kidney transplant procedure.

“My activity level prior to surgery was really high,” said Elmore. “I was playing basketball twice a week in the morning before work, I did CrossFit workouts during the week, and I always made sure to play with my kids as much as possible.”

Any surgery can present a risk, but this did not stop Elmore from making the best of the situation and focusing on the positive outcome the surgery would have on his family.

“My surgery went well and the doctors said my donated kidney was a super kidney,” said Elmore. “In the first few days, I felt annoying pain because of the gas in my shoulder. Any sneezing, laughing or coughing would cause me great pain. The first hard cough I had made me think my stomach was going to explode. After about a week, I was walking more and feeling much better.”

Although in recovery, Elmore knew he did not want to waste time getting back into his normal and active lifestyle.

“After the surgery, the doctors told me to take six weeks of rest before any type of lifting or working out,” said Elmore. “After week six, I started lifting light weights and barbells. I waited until after about eight weeks for pull-ups. No real unexpected hurdles, although I did have some minor abdominal pain around week 10 or 11 so I took a break from working out for a week.  Since then, I am pretty much back to my pre-surgery fitness.”

Although his surgery and kidney donation occurred in 2020, Elmore must remain healthy and fit as a donor.

“I do not see a difference in my health now, post-surgery,” said Elmore. “However, I must watch my caffeine intake, protein intake, and use non-stimulant pre-workout.”

The kidney donor list is at an all-time high according to kidneyregistry.org; although members of the population may feel the donation of a kidney may negatively affect their own personal health.

“I feel great,” said Elmore. “We just passed our one year ‘Kidneyversary,’ and my mother-in-law is doing amazing. Her doctor said they couldn’t ask for better results and that made this all worth it for me.”

Elmore has since recovered from the kidney transplant surgery, won the Kidney Donor Athletes’ Donor Games 3-REP Max Deadlift competition with a score of 500 pounds, competed in a Spartan Trifecta, and continues to serve as a beacon to his fellow reserve citizen airmen in the 301st Fighter Wing desiring to save lives through an organ donation.

 

**Editor's Note: Referenced material and data pulled from kidneyregistry.org

 

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