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The Gift that Never Stops Giving


The Gift that Never Stops Giving

Pella Food Service Worker Donates Kidney to Unknown Patient

            Imagine walking into a room and seeing a person you have been waiting to see for a year, yet never meeting this person physically in your lifetime beforehand. This is how food service worker, Dixie Roorda, felt after donating her kidney to an unknown patient.

“I had two sisters and one brother before me die before I was alive. I always thought that it would’ve been nice if someone could’ve helped them. So decided that maybe I could help someone,” said Roorda.

Roorda went into surgery on Dec. 3 to donate a kidney to an unknown person.

“A neighbor of mine, was one of the people in a five way kidney transplant. I heard that on the news, and it gave me the idea [to do this],” said Roorda.

Though the surgery took place in December, it was first scheduled for Oct. 8. The recipient of the kidney had a spot in her lung, which was presumably cancer, though turned out to be a benign tumor (a non-cancerous tumor). Still, the surgery was postponed to Dec.

“It was so exciting to finally be there and to finally get going. To me, I didn’t think it [the surgery] was all that bad. I expected a lot worse than it was,” said Roorda.

Roorda was a part of a three-way chain of kidney donations, one of the three being the daughter of the recipient of Roorda’s kidney. After the surgery, though in extreme pain, Roorda was relieved that it was finally over with.

“Definitely I would do it again. Though I don’t have another kidney to give, but, if I [had the option] I would do it all over again,” said Roorda.

The recipient, Regina Sinclair, though Roorda did not know her previous to the surgery, was disclosed to her on a day called “The Reveal”. The patients donating and the recipients of the donations are not able to see each other prior to the operation. During “The Reveal”, they can finally find out each other’s identity.

“On Thursday, we had what they call ‘The Reveal’. There was a lot of tears, and a lot of hugging, she couldn’t get out of her wheelchair, and I got out of my chair and hugged her. I felt really really good at that point. I’m sure I felt the best of any of them,” said Roorda. “I was just so excited. She’s such a sweetheart.”

Roorda had numerous reasons why she donated her kidney, though the most intriguing reason is one that cannot be explained.

“I had a dream. In my dream I saw this woman sitting up in a bed. And right away I thought that I was donating to a woman. Then, when I turned to get out of bed, this name Jean (short for Regina) popped into my head. [And thought] ‘I’m going to pray for a woman named Jean.’ I called the hospital a few day later and I said, ‘I want to pray, and I need to pray, just give me a first name.’ And she said ‘Regina’ and I lost it. From then on, I prayed for Regina,” said Roorda.

As I began to get to know Roorda and her motives for doing something like this, I began to see exactly the type of person she is; caring and motivated.

“It [the surgery] was just something I really thought I could do; so I did it, said Roorda.

As my interview came to a close, Roorda had three closing confident statements;

“I’m supposed to do this. I was glad I could do it. This was meant to be,” said Roorda.

•Jack Sytsma (jsytsma@pelladium.com)

About Amy Blanton