Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Kidney Donor Riding High

Shira Yehudit Djalilmand

Stephen Colman: “Anyone considering donating a kidney should know — it’s a tremendous mitzvah.”

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

 Mishpacha image

“You lose a few days of your life — but you’ve saved a life,” says Stephen Colman

In recent years, the mitzvah of donating a kidney to save a life has become more widespread, thanks largely to Matnat Chaim, the nonprofit organization founded by Rabbi Yehoshua Heber. Until now, most of those donations have taken place inIsrael, Matnat Chaim’s base. But recently, the organization celebrated the success of its first kidney donation inEngland.

Stephen Colman, 64, aLondonmortgage broker, first decided to donate a kidney five years ago when he saw an advertisement seeking a kidney for a local girl. Mr. Colman went for tests but was not compatible. A few years later he met Rabbi Heber at a reception for Matnat Chaim, where he explained his continued interest in donating. Later, he flew toIsraelfor more tests.

Then Mr. Colman got a call from Matnat Chaim. Philip Walters, a member of the Jewish community of Southend, desperately needed a kidney. English law only permits kidneys to be donated to a person one knows, in order to avoid exploitation. But at theRoyalFreeHospitalin Hampstead, where Mr. Colman went for testing, Matnat Chaim convinced the authorities that the donation was purely altruistic, thus smoothing the path for future donations in theUK.

The surgery to remove a kidney for donation is relatively minor, lasting about three hours. In most cases, donors can go home after just a few days in the hospital. In Mr. Colman’s case, not only was he back to almost a regular routine within a few days, but just five and a half weeks after the operation he participated in a 60-mile charity bike ride. The ride, a hilly route fromLondonto Brighton, was in aid ofNorwood, an organization providing support for children and adults with special needs.

“I’ve done it every year for 16 years and I didn’t want to miss it this year,” said Mr. Colman. “It was a bit tougher than usual because I hadn’t been able to do any training, but the doctor who did my check-up the next day was very happy.”  

Stephen Colman wins the race for chesed

Rabbi Heber founded Matnat Chaim in 2009 after his young chavrusa, whom he had learned with during dialysis, died for lack of a kidney. Today, the organization has arranged over 300 transplants. In recent years, numerous rabbanim have endorsed kidney donation, declaring it a mitzvah. As for health concerns, Rabbi Heber explains that medically, two working kidneys give humans 400% of the function they need. “So with one kidney, you can live ad meah v’esrim totally healthily.”

Stephen Colman is happy to encourage others considering donating a kidney. “Anyone considering donating a kidney should know — it’s a tremendous mitzvah. You lose a few days of your life — but you’ve saved a life. There’s no feeling like that.”


Related Stories

Never Give Up

Menachem Pines

Rav Moshe Mordechai Chodosh: a mirror to a past golden era, and a forward thinker who understood the...

Wall of Blessings

Shlomi Gil

He might look like any other Kosel schnorrer, but Reb Avrum Lipschitz-Brizel has spent 30 years secr...

Abandoned to Survive

Rabbi Moshe Grylak

The forest is swarming with Germans, and I’m just six years old, leading a group of even younger chi...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Drink to Eternity
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Redemption doesn’t simply mean being let out of jail
Klal Yisrael Is Always Free
Yonoson Rosenblum "In that merit will Klal Yisrael continue to exist”
Home Free
Eytan Kobre My baseline for comparison is admittedly weak
Believe in Your Own Seder
Rabbi Judah Mischel Hashem is satisfied when we do our best
Picture Perfect
Yisroel Besser Take a picture — and this time, send it to yourself
Flying Solo
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman As Pesach loomed closer, his resentment was growing
Hanging on by a Hair
Jacob L. Freedman MD “Do you still think that I’m not completely crazy?”
A Song for Every Season
Riki Goldstein Influencers map out their personal musical soundtracks
Subliminal Speech
Faigy Peritzman The deeper the recognition, the deeper the effect
The Big Change
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Spelling things out clears clouds of resentment
The Count-Up
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz Tap the middos of Sefirah to recreate yourself
The Baker: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP with Zivia Reischer "She can't get married if she can't build a relationship...
Know This: Infertility
As Told to Bracha Stein There was no place for me. I didn’t belong
Dear Shadchan
The Girl Here's the thing: I need time