Living Donation: Chris' Story

As a mentor for the UW Health living donation program, Chris is a great reminder that anyone can be a hero.Chris is a hero on many fronts. He proudly serves his country as a boom operator for the 128th Air Refueling Wing of the Air National Guard. Chris refuels combat aircraft while in flight over Iraq, Afghanistan or wherever his missions take him.


Layla, the German Shepherd mixed breed dog he rescued, must think Chris is a hero too. As a volunteer for the German Shepherd Rescue Alliance of Wisconsin they visit homes together, and work to match other dogs and owners. They also work together to transport dogs to foster care.


When Chris' own stepfather needed help in the form of a kidney donation, Chris immediately stepped up. Though he risked the possibility that he would not be able to fly again, it was a risk he was willing to take to help his stepfather.


Chris is back to flying, and is also a mentor to others interested in living donation.


"You can be a living donor and still live a very good life," said Chris.


Chris recently received the military award for the American Red Cross's annual Brave Hearts award. But like all living donors, even without the award, he was already a hero.