Annie Hoffnung—a wife, mother, and chief human resources officer at a public relations firm—donated a kidney to a stranger on February 28, 2023. Considered an “altruistic donor,” she belongs to a small group of organ donors who care so much about the welfare of others that they’re willing to take significant time out of their lives and undergo surgery to save the life of someone they don’t know.
“It was something I felt I could and should do,” she says, ever since she saw an ad in her synagogue bulletin announcing that a community member needed a kidney and inviting people to consider becoming his donor. “That person, who my husband knew, needed a donor with an A or O positive blood type.” So far, so good. Annie believed she fit the bill.
She went ahead and submitted an application form to Weill Cornell Medicine’s Kidney Transplant Program, and four weeks later, went in for initial blood work. As hoped, she was compatible with the person from her community who urgently needed a kidney.
However, another prospective donor was ahead of her in the queue, so her kidney wouldn’t be needed after all.
That was when Annie was introduced to the concept of becoming a non-direct, or altruistic kidney donor, where you give the gift of life to someone you don’t know. Read more