My favorite thing about writing this column is the opportunities it has brought me to be helpful.

Recently, I received an email from a reader named Rob. He had been cleaning out his basement and found a stash of Playboy magazines in good condition. Rob remembered reading something I’d written about selling old Playboys and giving the money to charity and asked whether I would be interested in doing that again.

To be honest (which I try to be), I’d kept most of the money I made from selling my previously inherited Playboy collection. I’m sure some of the money ended up at a charity, since I try to donate what I can when I can, but most of it had gone to my down payment for my house. But I wasn’t about to ruin Rob’s apparently good opinion of me, so of course I said “yes” to the proposal. He picked the Good Shepherd Food Bank as the recipient because it was his partner’s mother’s favorite charity. (Rob is a sweetheart, in case you didn’t guess.) So, not for the first time, I sent my mother to meet a strange man from the internet at a parking lot to pick up a box of nudie mags.

It’s honestly been a win-win-win-win situation. Rob got more room in his basement (and the satisfaction that comes with helping others). I get more sales in my eBay store, which bumps me up in the algorithm (and the satisfaction that comes with helping others). The Good Shepherd Food Bank gets money for their vital, life-sustaining work feeding Mainers, which is literally the most Christian thing to do. (I’m not sure how theologically acceptable the Playboy magazines are, but I think Jesus would understand.) So far, we have donated $88.42. Which isn’t very much in the big picture, but, as my mom would say, that’s 88 dollars they didn’t have before. And, of course, the customers get vintage men’s entertainment material for their collections at a reasonable price. Rob named the endeavor “Buns For Buns.”

I’ve had another opportunity to be helpful this week. It started when I wrote about trying to be a kidney donor for our family friend Ted. A lady named Laura emailed me saying she appreciated me raising awareness about kidney donation, because her husband, Dave, had been on the transplant list for a couple of years and was having a rough time on dialysis (not that dialysis is ever easy). And when we found out I wasn’t a match for Ted, Laura asked if I had considered doing a voucher for Dave.

See, if someone you know needs a kidney and you’d be willing to donate but you aren’t a match, you can donate a kidney through the National Kidney Registry to whoever needs it and is a good match, and your person who needs a kidney gets a voucher that basically gives them dibs on the next kidney that would be a good match for them. And I said that Ted already had a voucher in place for him, so I was just going to donate my kidney to whoever needed it. And then Laura asked if I would consider naming Dave as my voucher recipient, if I didn’t have anyone else in mind.

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I believe it was Jesus who said “ask and ye shall receive.” I’ve never actually met Dave, but I looked at the Facebook page Laura had made to try to find him a kidney, and he seemed like a real nice guy. And he clearly had a family who loved him. And I wanted to help out a fellow Mainer.

Let this be a good lesson to always shoot your shot. I told Laura sure, I’d name Dave as my voucher holder.

And then the Maine Transplant Program asked if I’d be willing to be part of a chain of kidney transplants. (Which is a thing! I love science.) And I said sure, sounds great. And then luck, or fate, or something kicked in. Dave ended up filling in a broken link in a kidney transplant chain. And as an expression of gratitude, the National Kidney Registry “gave” my kidney “back” to the Maine Transplant Program. I don’t know who will be receiving my left kidney, but they will be from Maine. And honestly, that’s probably for the best. My kidneys have evolved to function most efficiently when they have frequent doses of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.

So it’s a BOGO situation. (And you know I love me a good twofer deal.) My one kidney has led to two Mainers getting new kidneys. Dave received a new kidney a few weeks ago. It’s settling in great. He and Laura celebrated their 34th anniversary last week, and I hope he got her something real nice. As for me, I sent this column in to my editor a few days earlier than usual because of my scheduled nephrectomy. I’m going in a little nervous. And a little excited. But mostly, I’m just grateful for the opportunity to help.

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a Maine millennial. She can be contacted at:
[email protected]
Twitter: @mainemillennial


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