The Greatest Gift 4

Kidney Donor Gives the Gift of Life

Liz Doriott is a giver. Each Thanksgiving she gives away turkey dinners to those in need within her medical practice, where she treats lower income families that have trouble obtaining proper medical care. She’s a giving physician, missionary, wife, mother and friend. Due to a genetic kidney disease, it is Doriott’s turn to receive.

At age 21, Doriott was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)—the world’s most common inherited kidney disease. Worldwide, around 12 million people suffer from this condition and 50 percent of them are expected to have kidney failure by the time they reach 60 years old.

“One in 1,000 people get this disease,” says Doriott.

She has already outlived everyone in her family with the disease. She lost her father to PKD when he was only 46 years old; her brother died at age 39.

“We knew for a long time that I might need a kidney,” she says. When it became clear in August, 2015 that her kidneys were struggling, she knew it was time. A healthy kidney could add 20 or more years to her life.

“Without a kidney, I’d only have 4.5 years to live and I’d be on dialysis,” she says.

“I have some rare antibodies,” says Doriott. “26 people offered [to be donors]–only two matched. Of the two, the best match was Megan.”

Doriott had already met her match—long-time friend, Megan Kirchmer.

This wasn’t the first time Kirchmer was the best match to Doriott. They first met because their husbands are friends. When Doriott and her husband Derek Hindman opened Liberty Township’s The Blow Dry Bar and Salon in 2013, Kirchmer was at the top of the list for Business Manager.

“She is the best at customer relations—she’s the best manager,” Doriott says of Kirchmer.

Kirchmer is unruffled by handing over one of her healthy kidneys. As a former flight attendant, she is known for her calm, peaceful nature.

“I know my blood type is universal. I’ve always said I’d give her a kidney. I always was up for it. She’s very much a giver, it’s hard for her to take. She’ll do anything for a stranger off the street–give her shirt off her back. For her to take something like this is very difficult,” says Kirchmer.

“I’m speechless–overwhelmed,” says Doriott, humbled by her friend’s generosity as a living donor. “I can’t imagine anyone more selfless, giving, loving. She’s an incredible mother, incredible wife. And she’s stunningly beautiful, inside and out.”

Kirchmer shrugs off the compliments.

“Liz is like family to me. I’m just really glad to help. I want her to feel better. That’s important to me—that she can live a long, healthy life.”

Doriott promises to take good care of Kirchmer’s kidney.

“I’ll talk to it everyday,” she says, patting her right side, where Kirchmer’s healthy kidney will be placed. “I’ll take good care of it.”

It doesn’t take any medical tests to see that these two women are a match.

“We’ll always be connected, no matter what,” Kirchmer says. They are forever linked by the greatest gift, a second chance at life.