We start Organ Donor Awareness Month by featuring the story of Morgan Kloes, who donated part of his liver to Coreen. Morgan is 33 and spend the majority of the year living in Greece.
1. Which organ did you donate, and in what year?
I donated part of my liver in 2021.
2. How long were your recipient on the waiting list for an organ?
I am unsure. I saw that she was looking for a new liver on her Instagram at the start of 2020.
3. What made you decide to donate?
Coreen has always brought joy to everyone around her, even when she was in pain.
Even when things were dark for her, she always strove to make the lives of those around her better. She deserves to have a long and happy life. The world is a better place with her in it. I think some things are just meant to happen. I was meant to see her post and I was meant to have the courage to help her, because I could.
4. Describe the emotions experienced when you were told that you are a suitable donor?
It was a combination of excitement and relief for her tied to anxiety, excitement and fear for myself.
5. What is life like now, after donating an organ ?
I was lucky, I had an excellent team looking after me through out the entire process. I didn’t rush recovery and listened to my doctors and now I am living an entirely normal life. In fact I am fitter and stronger than I have been in years. With the added bonus of having the confidence in knowing if I decide I want to do something, I can and will. However, I think the most special part of the entire journey, is the connection that Coreen and I now share.
6. What advice would you give people considering being a living donor?
Don’t think it’s like ripping off a band aid kind of decision. It’s a journey, and it will test you. You may even, if you are lucky, come face-to-face with your mortality and that is a truly terrifying and beautiful thing.
7. Why do you think there is a shortage of donors in South Africa?
Most South Africans are entirely unaware that it is a viable option.
8. Has the idea of an altruistic donor become an outdated expectation in a modern society?
I think it is sad that our society has us asking a question like this. A donation like this will always be altruistic. While, the procedure is a routine one, such invasive surgeries have risks. Going through with a donation like this puts the potential benefits for another above the potential dangers for yourself. I certainly can claim that the entire process was extremely beneficial for me.
However, an act like this should never be belittled, it is an extraordinary act of generosity and courage.
9. What is the biggest stigma / myth you have heard about organ donation?
That people don’t know the difference between the liver and kidneys. I think it may be
because people don’t understand that the liver regenerates. So they all decide that you
must be lying, because donating it means, you are giving away the entire thing.
10. If you could describe donation in one word, what would it be?
11. Summarise the benefits of organ donation in one word.
12. Are there any reason NOT to be an organ donor?
There were a few times where I nearly decided not to go through with it. The most profound, however, was understanding that such a donation impacts your family and friends as much as it impacts you. In fact, I think they may be more afraid of the outcome than you are so be aware of it and keep open lines of communication with them.
13. If you could be any organ, what organ would you be and why?
My liver, it’s a monster.