2017 Transplant and Organ Donation Calendar: Joyce Doty

Living organ donor Joyce Doty

Joyce Doty of Hammond, Ind., has dedicated her life to helping others. So when the patient advocate heard fellow church member John Babbitt talking to someone else about how he needed a kidney transplant, she jumped at the opportunity to offer him hers.


Initially, he turned her down because she was a single mother of three boys - one of whom still lived at home. Two years later, John's wife organized a "kidney drive" in a quest for a living donor, and Joyce volunteered her kidney a second time. This time, he gratefully accepted the gift.


"I told him that I prayed about it and I believed it was something God wanted me to do," says Joyce.


When she told her sons about her plans, they were initially hesitant. "One of my adult sons said, 'Mom, you give away everything. Now you're giving away body parts?' " Joyce says with a chuckle. But they eventually got on board and she underwent testing to see if she was a match.


Because Joyce has O-positive blood, she is a universal donor, which means she can donate to anyone. Karen Miller, RN, BSN, CCTC, paired kidney exchange coordinator at the UW Health Transplant Program, asked Joyce if she would be willing to participate in an exchange because she was a match for so many people.


"When she told me I would be able to help more than one person, I was overwhelmed," says Joyce. "I told her I want to save as many lives as possible."


Though she and John no longer attend the same church, they still keep in close contact. John's wife, Murrell, calls and checks on Joyce frequently. "I donated my kidney because it was a need that had to be met," Joyce says. "I think that's the ultimate show of love - to give somebody life just as Jesus did."


Read John Babbitt's Story

Read about the kidney exchange