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Proposal to Congress


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June 3, 2003

    My name is Cheryl Musselman, and on August 21, 1999, I donated a kidney to a gentleman I read about in the newspapers, who only lived 50 miles from me. I contacted him and offered one of my kidneys, and after a nine month process of determining if we were compatible, it happened. I did not go through UNOS, everything was done through the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. I knew nothing about UNOS at the time.
     When it was determined that it might be a possibly to donate one of my organs, I had to figure out what to do about my job, and the possibility of being out of work for 6 weeks. I spoke to my 'team-leader' who approached the President of the company I worked for. She contacted me and offered an option other than using all my vacation, sick leave or using disability. She sent a letter to all the company employees asking them to donate some of their vacation time for me to use! I was in tears when she called me a month later and said that they had received a full six weeks of time for me to use. Whether that had happened or not would not have changed my mind about donating, but boy did that make the whole process much easier and a lot less stressful.
    After the surgery, I was trying to think of a way to get more people to become 'living donors'. I spoke to my dad about it and we came up with the idea of an employer offering as a 'perk' six weeks pay, if the employee were to donate an organ, plus they would not lose their job by being out that length of time. To the majority of people that would mean nothing, but to those who might consider 'living donation' but could not afford the time off, it might work. I had thought of writing to large corporations (Bill Gates came to mind, what with his humanitarian efforts) and Oprah (because I think she would do it), but I didn't know how to approach them.
    I think maybe if you could somehow offer your $5000 to people who might be willing to become 'living donors', you may have tapped into a segment of the population that would step up and help.
Cheryl Musselman
(To read something about how Cheryl donated her kidney, click here)


This page last updated: 10/6/2005