The Gift of Life


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Last year, 24-year-old Dickson City resident Christopher Polk, who in 2011 was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure and has been on dialysis since then, went from an incredible high to an incredible low. He thought he had found a kidney donor, everything seemed to be going well, and then one day the hospital called.

“They said the operation had been postponed because the donor was sick,” he recalled. “But I knew what was happening. The donor had backed out.”

But things are looking up for Polk. On Christmas day, he found out he has a new donor, and it turns out she lives only a few blocks away from Polk in Dickson City, and the two went to Mid Valley High School at about the same time, though they didn’t know each other well.

The donor is Megan Allman, 23, a recent graduate of the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. She credits her mom, Jean, — and Facebook — for creating the circumstances that led to her generous decision.

“I heard about Chris on Facebook,” she said. “I remembered him from school and I just said ‘I want to go get tested.’” She said when she was growing up, “my mom taught me to help those in need, to give back. And I sometimes get creative with my options,” Allman, who has already donated bone marrow, said.

Polk’s mom, Joanne, is more effusive: “I feel like I’m gaining a daughter,” she gushed.

On Friday, Feb. 14, beginning at 5 p.m., the two families will host a benefit pasta dinner/dance at The Regal Room, 216 Lackawanna Ave., Olyphant, to raise funds to help defray the medical expenses. Dinner will be served from 5 to 7 p.m. (you can come by and pick up a takeout order 5-6 p.m.) followed by live music by Indigo Six (the band is donating its time) and dancing. The evening will feature a basket raffle, a 50/50 and a drawing on a wheelbarrow of cheer. The menu includes penne, meatballs, salad, fresh bread, dessert, coffee and tea.

Tickets are $15; $10 for kids 10 and younger. Advanced ticket purchases are preferred and can be purchased by calling 570-815-2892 or 570-780-6370 or 570-906-1566.

If you’re unable to attend but still wish to make a donation, checks can be made to Chris’ Kidney Connection and dropped off at any PNC Bank. Visit chrisskidneyconnection.org for more information.

Both Polk and Allman stress that they hope Allman’s example will serve as an inspiration to others.

“There are 8,500 people waiting for kidney transplants in Pennsylvania,” Polk noted.

“This is what it means to be human,” Allman added. “It’s something important.”

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