Donate Life Month: Lahey Patient Describes Life-Saving Experience of Organ Donation

April 24, 2024

Organ Donation Is a Second Chance for Someone in Need

For Larry Lewis, organ donation isn’t about the thanks he receives. But it does help him see how those on the other side are affected.

“I don’t need any praise,” he said in a recent interview with Beth Israel Lahey Health (BILH). “I was just happy to do this for two families and then to see how their lives have changed.”

Another Way to Help People

Larry’s journey as an organ donor actually started some time before he was a patient at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. After seeing a news report urging more people to make organ donations, Larry was inspired to do his part. After all, as a law enforcement professional, Larry has built a career on helping people.

“I’m in law enforcement and it’s kind of a thankless job,” he said. “So I said, why don’t I try and make a difference to somebody who will appreciate it, whether I know them or not.”

He started by giving a kidney in 2022. The process went smoothly and the satisfaction he received was well worth the procedure. Almost as soon as he recovered, Larry began looking for other opportunities to give. This time, he wanted to donate a piece of his liver.

Giving to a Child Made the Experience More Meaningful

Larry arrived at Lahey near the end of 2022. He underwent two days of testing to determine whether he was healthy enough to give. Once he got the green light, Larry was informed his liver was going to a four-year-old boy.

He knew right away this was going to deepen the experience.

“A child really has no history,” he said. “I really wanted to be able to give a longer life to somebody.”

Surgery can be stressful even in the best of situations, and in Larry’s case, as a healthy donor undergoing voluntary surgery, procedures can add an extra degree of stress. Fortunately for him, his care team at Lahey ensured his experience was as safe and comfortable as possible.

“It didn’t matter what hour of the day it was,” he said. His care team was attentive to his needs and always on hand to support him. “I had no worries at all about the care I was going to receive there.”

That was important to him because it also meant his family wouldn’t have to worry either.

‘There’s No Reason Not to Give’

For Larry, the quality of the care he received at Lahey helped shape his feelings toward organ donation. While his main motivation was always to help someone else in need, and although he acknowledged that complications were possible, both his operation and recovery went smoothly.

That left little doubt in his mind he was doing the right thing.

“If you’re healthy and you take care of yourself,” he said, donating can come at little risk to you and can really change someone’s life.

“Go ahead and do it,” he said to anyone considering organ donation. “There’s no reason not to.”