Since the first successful organ transplant in 1954, the transplantation of organs and tissues has enabled thousands of individuals increased longevity by replacing diseased or damaged organs and tissues. The great need for organ transplants (with demand far exceeding available organs for the over 100,000 on the U.S. national transplant waiting list) has introduced issues surrounding the allocation of organs, and the meeting of this great need through issues of consent, dead donor determination, for-profit models of organ transplantation, organ trafficking & medical tourism, synthetic & artificial organs, xenotransplantation, the possibility of bioengineered and/or 3D printed organs, and even the potential for fetal organ farming.
It was a sunny Californian day when I got the call, while walking on the bustling campus of Biola University. I was closing out my junior year and felt like I knew everything and had forever to know more. All it took was one phone call to destroy that false reality forever. I had been having minor health issues that took me consistently back to the campus health center. And what had they found? I was in Stage 3 (out of 5) kidney failure.
Pastoral and congregational care for my family and me was critical to help us through this time of uncertainty. We needed someone to come alongside us and regularly offer help and encouragement. My wife was affected even more than I was. Because I could not obtain more life insurance, she faced the prospect of raising children on her own with no financial safety net. The compassion and financial assistance from our church and its members significantly helped to ease our minds as we entered this new phase of our lives.