Fifty-seven-year-old Ted Garding is Mayo Clinic’s first altruistic living liver donor. The living liver donation program allows a healthy person to donate a portion of his or her liver, which then regenerates over time. What makes Ted’s story even better? He's a two-time altruistic organ donor, having previously donated a kidney back in 2010. An altruistic, or nondirected living donor, is a person who donates an organ, usually a kidney, and does not name or have an intended recipient.
"We were taught to help people in need, and we were blessed with good health in our family," says Ted. "And I am well aware that there are a lot of people that aren't as fortunate. Being kind to people and helping people in need has always been the most important thing to me."
When Ted heard about living liver donation, he applied at Mayo Clinic, but expected he might get denied because he has one kidney and is in his 50s. But Ted was accepted, and in October 2021, the transplant happened in Rochester, Minnesota. The recipient reached out a few days later to thank him and told Ted he was her "guardian angel."
"My own personal experience as a double living organ donor, personally, it's changed my life for the better," says Ted. "When you help someone in need, you're naturally going to feel better. I feel as though I've been blessed and that I am the one who received a gift."
April is National Donate Life Month to raise awareness of the need for organ donors. In honor of Donate Life Month, Ted joins the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast to share his story.
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