Ross, Cheryl & Kimmy Witty
Living Donor & Wife
Daughter / Kidney Recipient
Ross Witty is a huge sports fan; he’s spent the majority of his life collecting sports memorabilia. But the team that’s most important to him is his family. So when his 12-year-old daughter, Kimmy, was diagnosed with a rare genetic kidney condition, he jumped into action.
Ross and his wife, Cheryl, were both tested as potential matches for Kimmy. Ross was a slightly better match. He endured a long, nerve-wracking journey, undergoing every test imaginable to make sure that not only was he a match, but that he could remain healthy after the donation.
Of course, as a father, he never had a second thought.
“Kimmy is one of the most kind, compassionate and caring people I have ever known,” he said. “The only thing I could think of was making her healthy again – the decision was really a no brainer.”
On Nov. 21, 2011, Ross gave a piece of himself so his daughter could live.
“Prior to donating, I registered as a donor,” Ross recalled. “But in my mind, it was meant for after I was gone. When I gave Kimmy my kidney, it opened my eyes to the importance of being a living donor, and I now encourage everyone I know to think about it.”
He says there were a few bumps along the road to recovery, but he was back at work within three weeks, and long term, the donation hasn’t interfered with his work or hobbies.
“I think most people are afraid it will have a tremendous impact on their current quality of life. They could look at me and see that it has not negatively affected me at all.”
On the other hand, it has improved Kimmy’s life in a huge way.
Before, Kimmy’s kidneys were only functioning at about 20 percent. She became so weak that she couldn’t attend school. She often had excruciating pain in her hands due to a calcium deficiency. But now, Kimmy is 19 and attending college. She lives and gives by being heavily involved in her church. She has even been able to go on several mission trips. After college, she plans to become a child life specialist, working with hospital-bound kids to help them lead full lives despite serious illnesses.
Ross, Cheryl and Kimmy also live and give by helping other families traveling down the same path they did. In July 2017, they launched their nonprofit – Children’s Transplant Initiative – to provide spiritual, emotional and financial support to children and families involved in the transplant process. Long term, they hope to build a pediatric transplant hospitality house, appropriately named Kimmy’s Kottage, near Texas Medical Center in Houston where pre-transplant, transplant and post-transplant children and their families can stay as they await their lifesaving organs.
“It has been such a joy and honor to get to know these kids and their families,” Ross said of their work so far. “It is truly humbling, and while people tell us we are a blessing, it is we who are truly blessed.”