The gift of life came from an unlikely source for Donna Burchfield, who was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease in 1998.Color technician Brittany Reed first heard of Burchfield’s need for a kidney transplant in November 2009, as Reed was applying Burchfield’s hair color at Buckhead’s Carter Barnes hair salon. Reed, compelled by the need to help, discreetly tested at Piedmont Hospital for months before she was able to break the joyous news of her candidacy as a donor for Burchfield.
What went through your mind as you began testing to see if you were a match for Donna?
After I first heard about Donna’s situation, I decided not to do anything until after the holidays. I had this compelling desire to help her, but wanted to make sure I thought my decision through. I am the type of woman that has to see every decision I make all the way through. Once I went through the second section of testing, I knew that if everything came back as a match, I would, without a doubt, do what I could to help Donna.
Why did you decide to ultimately become a donor?
I decided because everything in me told me that it was the right thing to do. I can’t really put into words why or how I decided. I just put my decision in God’s hands. I knew that if it was meant to be, if I was the lucky person, then I would do it and never think twice.
What were your initial feelings when you decided to break the news to Donna?
I was filled with all kinds of emotion. I was excited, and scared, nervous and calm. I remember just thinking that my life will change from this moment forward and it has. I knew by donating to Donna that it would be a wonderful gift to her, but I had no idea that it would be such an amazing gift to me as well.
Why do you feel others should consider the same choice you made?
This isn’t the right choice for everyone, but I do think if more people did a little more research, they would realize it isn’t as scary as most would think. There is no doubt that this is a major surgery, but you are not just saving a person, but an entire family and there is nothing more amazing than that.
Why is organ donation important to you?
Organ failure can happen to anyone. I realized that life is so precious and we can only rely on each day we have.