Photo Contest

Barry W Benecke II

Photo Description

Me and my dog, Fuzzy. I donated my kidney in 2009, hence the 09 jersey, and I met my recipient on a Star Wars collectors forum and Star Wars came out in 1977, so I got the 77 jersey. And Fuzzy just adds a pop of cool to the picture!

My Story

One day I was reading the posts on a Star Wars collectors forum, and a fellow SW collector and fan, posted he needed a kidney, an O+ blood type kidney. I began to cry, and through my tears, I responded that I was willing to donate even though I had no clue what was involved. The man who needed this kidney told me he had friends who had stepped forward and were being tested. A few weeks later, he wrote me a message that if I was serious about my offer to donate, to call a phone number, and they would explain the next steps. I called, and I was shipped a box of vials and directions to local labs that would draw my blood. I remember getting the phone call, saying I was a match. I was so excited! You see, my mom passed away in 2005, from colorectal cancer. There was nothing I could do to extend her life, but here was an individual who I could help. Needless to say, the transplant was a success, despite a surgery being canceled and then rescheduled 3 1/2 months later. I live in Illinois, my recipient lives in California, but we have been friends over the last 15 years, and both are still going strong!!