His grandson needed a kidney. And to save him, he gave his kidney to someone else.
True
SoCal Honda Dealers

Retired judge Howard Broadman helped his grandson get a kidney in the future — and he didn't even need time travel to do it.

He did have to make an incredibly generous move, though.

Three years ago, he donated one of his kidneys — not to his beloved grandson, but to a total stranger. Yep. You read that right. A stranger.


Image via UCLA Health.

You see, Broadman's grandson is Quinn, a little boy born with only one kidney — one kidney that isn't fully functioning. Broadman may be too old to donate by the time Quinn needs a transplant.

At first, he considered donating to a complete stranger anyway. He'd join the list of living donors fittingly called “altruistic donors” and hope for karma to come back around and help Quinn in the future.  

Instead, he came up with a brilliant idea.

That stranger he donated his kidney to? Her name is Kathy DeGrandis. And her sister (who hadn't previously donated because she wasn't compatible with Kathy), donated to a stranger, whose family donated to someone else.

How does this lead back to Quinn? Well, thanks to his grandfather’s innovative thinking, Quinn gets a voucher for that kidney he might need in the future.

“I didn't know anything about kidney donations or anything like that,” Broadman says. But learning that his grandson's life was on the line got him thinking.

He realized that the supply of donated kidneys doesn't even come close to keeping up with the number of people who need them.

To get a transplant in the future, Quinn would have to join a list that's currently over 100,000 people long, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

It's a disturbing wait, with only about 18,000 transplants taking place every year.

That’s why Broadman brought his simple idea to medical professionals at UCLA. He proposed that he’d donate a kidney to a stranger now, and Quinn would get a voucher for a kidney in the future.

And, in the end, he wouldn’t only save one stranger’s life.

Now, his simple proposal is touching more and more strangers' lives every year.

The UCLA Kidney Voucher Program, in association with the National Kidney Registry, connects patients in a sort of paying-it-forward system that Broadman describes as “a geometric progression of goodness.”

How it works: Someone like Broadman has a kidney to give and a loved one in need, but an obstacle like time stands in the way of a direct donation.

So they donate to a stranger. Then their loved one (like the Lego-loving, soccer-playing, joyful kindergartner named Quinn) gets a voucher to become a high priority recipient when an appropriate match becomes available.

Image via UCLA Health.

The initial response to Broadman’s idea? Medical professionals told him that “nobody's ever wanted to do that before,” he says.

But he was ready to be the first, and a unique exchange program was born.

Since its inception at UCLA, at least 30 hospitals now have this program, and studies show that it's making a real difference.

Right now, only about 6,000 donations a year come from the most effective donors — living donors.

This voucher program is already increasing those numbers. So far, donation chains have led to 68 transplants and 21 vouchers issued to patients in need. People who aren't compatible with their loved ones can donate to help them anyway.

Image via UCLA Health.

“Sometimes you need to break out of your pattern, look at things from a different viewpoint,” Broadman suggests. This program, he says, is his “small gift to the universe.”

He pulls no punches in admitting that donating a kidney is a painful procedure. But he’ll tell you that it's worth it to give a fighting chance to someone — like that adorable youngster Quinn, or your own loved one.

“It's my best legacy. I don't know any gift better,” Broadman says as his voice cracks. “It's pretty powerful.”

Inspired? Learn more about the UCLA Kidney Voucher Program.

Here we are, six months into the coronavirus pandemic, and people are tired. We're tired of social distancing, wearing masks, the economic uncertainty, the constant debates and denials, all of it.

But no one is more tired than the healthcare workers on the frontline. Those whom we celebrated and hailed as heroes months ago have largely been forgotten as news cycles shift and increased illness and death become "normal." But they're still there. They're still risking themselves to save others. And they've been at it for a long time.

Mary Katherine Backstrom shared her experience as the wife of an ER doctor in Florida, explaining the impact this pandemic is having on the people treating its victims and reminding us that healthcare workers are still showing up, despite all of the obstacles that make their jobs harder.

Keep Reading Show less
Mozilla
True
Firefox

When I found out I was pregnant in October 2018, I had planned to keep the news a secret from family for a little while — but my phone seemed to have other ideas.

Within just a few hours of finding out the news, I was being bombarded with ads for baby gear, baby clothes and diapers on Facebook, Instagram and pretty much any other site I visited — be it my phone or on my computer.

Good thing my family wasn't looking over my shoulder while I was on my phone or my secret would have been ruined.

I'm certainly not alone in feeling like online ads can read your mind.

When I started asking around, it seemed like everyone had their own similar story: Brian Kelleher told me that when he and his wife met, they started getting ads for wedding rings and bridal shops within just a few weeks. Tech blogger Snezhina Piskov told me that she started getting ads for pocket projectors after discussing them in Messenger with her colleagues. Meanwhile Lauren Foley, a writer, told me she started getting ads for Happy Socks after seeing one of their shops when she got off the bus one day.

When online advertising seems to know us this well, it begs the question: are our phones listening to us?

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash

Two years ago, I got off the phone after an interview and cried my eyes out. I'd just spent an hour talking to Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that helps fight child sex trafficking, and I just couldn't take it.

Ballard told me about how the training to go undercover as a child predator nearly broke him. He told me an eerie story of a trafficker who could totally compartmentalize, showing Ballard photos of kids he had for sale, then switching gears to proudly show him a photo of his own daughter on her bicycle, just as any parent would. He told me about how lucrative child trafficking is—how a child can bring in three or four times as much as a female prostitute—and how Americans are the industry's biggest consumers.

Keep Reading Show less

Kids say the darnedest things and, if you're a parent, you know that can make for some embarrassing situations. Every parent has had a moment when their child has said something unintentionally inappropriate to a stranger and they prayed they wouldn't take it the wrong way.

Cassie, the mother of 4-year-old Camryn, had one of the those moments when her child yelled, "Black lives matter" to a Black woman at a Colorado Home Depot.

But the awkward interaction quickly turned sweet when the Black woman, Sherri Gonzales, appreciated the comment and thanked the young girl.

Keep Reading Show less