Mike Dodge is an extraordinary individual. He's the kind of person who has always wanted to help. His friends describe Mike as the kind of guy who would show up at your new house and carry your couch up six floors and ask what was next. If your car broke down, you called Mike.
So it came only as a mild shock to Mike's friends when Mike decided to donate his kidney to a complete stranger.
But let's back up for a moment.
It all started with a 30 year old man named Tyler Weig. Tyler heard the story of husband and wife, Lance and Julie Beyer. Lance needed a kidney transplant but Julie was an incompatible donor - she had a different blood type. With Lance's condition growing worse, Tyler stepped up.
Tyler Weig decided he would donate his kidney to Lance; an Altruistic Donor who didn't know the recipient. Tyler's wife Julie, in turn, committed that she would also donate her kidney to a random patient in need. And just like that, Tyler Weig's random act of prodigious kindness sparked a pay-it-forward movement that would become the largest kidney-paired donation chain in Iowa history.
Mike Dodge heard the story of Tyler and Lance and brought himself into the chain. With 532 people on Iowa's waiting list for kidneys, surely he was a match for somebody. That match was quickly found in Nick Titus, a 22 year old from Des Moines who had suffered from kidney disease since the age of 10. By the time Mike and Nick were matched, Nick was "Not doing very well."
Mike's friend Corby Dodge recalled the day Mike told him he had contacted the kidney donation center in Des Moines and signed up to be an Altruistic Donor. Corby asked Mike if he was certain he wanted to part with a kidney. Mike had already donated bone marrow and stem cells, and responded: "Look, there is a 3% chance I will need my second kidney but a 100% chance somebody else needs it today. I'm doing this."
The day of the operation, Mike put on his Bill Murray Tee, his Chive hat, and went in for surgery. Mike admitted the process was "a little bit brutal," but well worth it. In three days, ten operations saved five lives.
Mike's brother told us: "Mike gives a whole new meaning to giving. It takes a while to heal but he's doing well now. Mike is such a huge fan of theCHIVE, as you can see from the pictures. He embodies the Chivers' pay-it-forward attitude. It would make his year if he saw his story on the website."
Dr. Cass Franklin, director of the transplant program at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, cleverly pointed out how much one person can make a difference. He said, “It all started with ONE humanitarian donor. This allowed for the entire pay-it-forward process.”
Here at theCHIVE we’ve recently been publishing many Random Acts of Kindness. Due to theCHIVE’s massive reach, we’ve noticed that pockets of generosity always spring up around the first act. One day, we’ll get dozens of submissions from Atlanta. The next day’s explosion of goodwill will come from Chicago.
Dr. Cass was right. Where there is one random act of kindness, there are others. The recipient will often pick up the torch and carry the light forward just as Mike did. Here’s to you, Mike. Proud to call you a Chiver.