Clay Moorefield has always been dedicated to exercise and fitness. But when he found out his best friend Omar Foster needed a kidney transplant and was searching for a living donor, he realized just how important a healthy lifestyle can be.
“I prayed on it, researched the impact it would have on me, and considered my children and family. Once I knew I could still live a healthy life with one kidney, I volunteered,” says Clay.
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Becoming a Living Donor
The health and safety of living donors is very important. To ensure that becoming a living donor is safe, the transplant team will evaluate your overall health, as they did for Clay.
During a living donor evaluation, you undergo a stress test to see if you are physically healthy enough to become a donor. Your medical history is evaluated, as well as your emotional readiness to donate. You also are required to have a caregiver and a support system to help you through recovery.
Potential living donors should:
- Be 18 to 75 years of age (for kidney donors) or 18 to 55 years of age (for liver donors)
- Have no history of:
- Heart disease
- Liver disease, including cirrhosis and hepatitis B and C
- Cancer or other diseases that could complicate surgery
- Be in generally good health
“To me, being healthy is about taking complete care of yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s about having the right individuals in your life and taking care of your external and internal health.”
Thanks to his lifelong commitment to physical and emotional health, Clay was in perfect shape to become a living donor. He also happened to be an excellent match for Omar.
Exercising After Living Donation
After living donor surgery, it’s very important to follow your doctor’s instructions when it comes to exercise.
While in the hospital, you will need to rest. But short walks through the halls with assistance from a caregiver can help speed up your recovery.
Once you are discharged, you may be allowed to take walks around your neighborhood. For at least six weeks after surgery, you should not lift more than five to 10 pounds. You should also continue to eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Clay and Omar were cleared to go back to the gym after about two months and began working out together regularly.
“It’s been more than a year since I became his donor and I’ve been completely cleared by the doctors, am in excellent health, and feel amazing – not just physically but also in knowing that I gave someone another chance at life!”
To learn more about living donation, visit UPMC.com/LivingDonor
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .
About Transplant Services
For more than four decades, UPMC Transplant Services has been a leader in organ transplantation. Our clinicians have performed more than 20,000 organ transplant procedures, making UPMC one of the foremost organ transplant centers in the world. We are home to some of the world’s foremost transplant experts and take on some of the most challenging cases. Through research, we have developed new therapies that provide our patients better outcomes — so organ recipients can enjoy better health with fewer restrictions. Above all, we are committed to providing compassionate, complete care that can change – and save – our patients’ lives. Visit our website to find a provider near you.