Hey Reddit! There’s a lot I want to touch on to paint a thorough picture. I’ll try to approach this chronologically while being as concise as possible and I’ll leave a quick summary at the end.


From late 2016 to summer 2017, I lost around 220 lbs by changing my eating habits and drastically increasing my physical activity. Entirely ceasing going out and ordering food in favor of making my meals at home allowed me to control what was going into my food, in particular, salt content and added sugar. I spent about an hour each day, sometimes more, either walking or working out at the gym, just becoming used to which exercises felt most comfortable since I didn’t have an end goal regarding a specific weight. I didn’t have a nutritionist or trainer to guide me, the gym became a routine way of holding myself accountable for something.

I shared my weight loss on Reddit on r/loseit. I was contacted by over 100 users looking for insight on what it took to remain committed, and I explained that you don’t start losing weight with the intention of losing that much as it’s an intimidating number. You attack it in chunks aiming for something as small as 5 lbs here and there and making small changes incrementally, allowing for sustained and sizeable impact. I don’t consider myself a figure of authority so instead of telling people what to eat or exercises to do, I try to help them discover the spark that initiates to desire to change and let that drive their unique goals. Someone from Yahoo Fitness saw my post and interviewed me for a Yahoo News piece . I went on to appear on the Rachael Ray show a couple of months later to talk a bit more about my journey up until that point. I’ve since taken part in and completed a variety of road races as well as Spartans.

Kidney Donation:

In 2016 I learned through an NPR podcast that of the 100,000 people in need of an organ in the US that close to 90% of them were for kidneys. Organs from living donors last on average twice as long as those from deceased. At the time, I was still over 400 lbs but in February 2019 having lost most of that weight, I registered my interest with New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell in New York to be an organ donor. 60 days later, after undergoing thorough physical and psychiatric evaluations, I donated my kidney to a stranger. I sent a card with the organ transport for the recipient, simply saying there’s no pressure to reach out to say thank you. A couple of months later I received this letter from the recipient. The surgery lasted about three and a half hours, I was discharged after two and a half days, and back to work six weeks later, free of complications.

Before my surgery and after extensive research and internal inquiries, I learned that New York City, which I was an employee of as a civilian member of the NYPD, had no organ donor paid leave policy. even though New York State does, which mirrors a Federal policy however these policies only apply to New York State and Federal employees, respectively. I planned to lump together whatever vacation and sick leave I’d saved to get me through my recovery. The New York Daily News published an article regarding the absence of supportive donor policy. The very next day, I was contacted by the NYPD and assured they would provide paid leave because thought my actions were commendable and in line with their mission. Later that year, the Policewomen Endowment Association awarded me Humanitarian of the year.

Liver Donation:

Using the kidney donation as a point of reference, in August 2021, I registered with NYPWC as an interested liver donor candidate. Though a small number compared to people in need of Kidneys, I knew the need was still present for living liver donors and I felt physically and mentally equipped. In November of 2021, I notified the NYPD that I met the criteria to donate a part of my liver and would like to arrange similar accommodations to those that followed my kidney donation two years prior. I was given written, signed, and verbal reassurance that I would be taken care of. Around the same time, I was asked by the NYPD to attend a sanctioned organ donor-related event to engage with the media and advocate for donors.

After seven hours in March of 2022, my surgery was successfully completed and the portion taken of my liver was transported nearby to Columbia in New York and attached to the recipient. I sent a card with the same sentiment expressed to the kidney recipient wishing them the best of luck and that my only wish is that they strive to live as abundantly as possible. I was discharged after three days but was much slower to resume everyday life given the extent of the surgery and the liver needing time to regenerate.

A month after surgery, I was notified by someone in payroll that I had been placed on unpaid leave which I found odd since I was promised the leave would be taken care of. I attempted to contact the individual that drafted the letter for my leave but after unreturned calls and emails, I visited the NYPD office and days after the final document had been signed. Even with the signed approval, after months of internal misalignment, negligence, and apparent incompetence, I was denied the paid leave. When I returned to work in July I had missed four paychecks due to the mishandling of the matter I inquired and was once again given reassurance the matter would be resolved. Missing one paycheck tends to be fine, most people can adapt, but missing four bears a massive financial and mental impact.

In August, on three consecutive days, I was made aware a final decision had been made, and the leave back pay would not be issued. I was then notified I was the subject of an internal investigation regarding misuse of company time by clocking out 3 minutes early on various instances. An allegation I’ve since determined had no merit and was done for no other reason than to induce discomfort. Lastly, the hiring department informed me that I would be terminated because I had not attempted the civil service exams associated with my position. All of the clauses the NYPD cited for my dismissal were present at the time of my kidney donation, yet they acted swiftly to remedy the situation then but pivoted to attacking in this instance. I resigned from the job at the end of August, my mental health was deteriorating quite rapidly, and remaining in an institution that mistreated me this way felt subservient.

I applied for unemployment the next day, and on 12/7/22, the department of labor ruled I was ineligible to collect weekly benefits because I left the job with good cause. They had been provided all documentation to support my actions but, after taking comment from the NYPD, denied my claim.

In clear air:

If I knew before my liver surgery what would transpire following it, I would have still gone through with it. I will not and cannot let the possibility of adversity deter others from being helped. To imagine living a diminished life because you need dialysis, or weekly treatments, to imagine a family rallying behind a loved one fighting to make it to the day they get the call that they’ve been matched with a donor, is unthinkable for most of us. I’ll continue to speak on behalf of living donors, and people in need, and share my story in hopes it resonates with someone and sparks an idea within them. We’ve all needed help at some point, the mechanism behind these surgeries is no different from offering a friend a ride home or lending someone a pen. Doing something to help a person in need gives them better odds of overcoming some form of detriment.

I’m not great with welcoming help, let alone asking for it. Just before posting this AMA I made a GoFundMe, and if anyone at all would like to donate, it would be received with extreme gratitude as I continue applying for jobs in pursuit of my next role.

Living Organ Donor Resources

National Kidney Donation Organization

Waitlist Zero

New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Living Liver Donation

Summary: After losing 200 lbs, and donating my kidney and a part of my liver on separate occasions, my former employer the NYPD failed to make good on their promise to provide paid leave and instead created a hostile work environment even after they’d previously highlighted the unique nature of my actions. This resulted in four missed pay periods, I was met with hostility once I returned to work and left shortly after to take care of my declining mental health. I continue to support and mentor those seeking to become living organ donors because the preservation of life is worth it.


Additional proof submitted to mods

Edit 1: I wanted to clear up a couple of things I might not have been clear about.

I was a civilian employee of the NYPD, not a cop. Just a regular functional non-uniform employee. Cops have a form of sick leave that's indefinite, in fact, a friend of mine donated months before I did when he was an officer and didn't have any of the issues I experienced as a non-officer employee of the NYPD.

The amount of the GoFundMe is the exact amount of the paychecks I missed due to the mishandling of my case by the NYPD.

The reason me being the first black double altruistic organ donor is worth mentioning is because the community by and large bears a strong distrust of surgical procedures due to historically being experimented on. So stepping forward once, let alone twice to willingly offer a piece of themselves to someone else they might never meet doesn't align with the demographic's inclinations. It's not a claim of my genetic preference or me having a higher that average organ match rate, I'm simply an anomaly in this context.

Someone brought to light that voluntarily quitting a job automatically prevents you from receiving unemployment. This isn't true because I know of someone who was exploited at a previous role and quit. Having argued their case on the hostile nature of the job, they were able to collect weekly unemployment benefits. I provided a full and detailed history of what had transpired leading up to me leaving the job to the department of labor months ago before they made their final decision.

*Edit 2: Signing off for the night, thank you for all of the questions and love and for those that donated to the fundraiser, words will fall short of how grateful I am of your generosity. I’ll answer any new question in the morning. *

Edit 3: Back and answering questions I missed overnight

Comments: 274 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

msp22223 karma

Anyone interested in donating to my husband? He's 41,has PKD and is in dire need of a living kidney donor. Thanks! https://twitter.com/robsnewkidney

mrcheyl69 karma

Hoping this gets the exposure it deserves.

BrainOnLoan24 karma

Are donations like this personal?

I would have assumed you get matched with a database and best match/highest priority gets lucky.

mrcheyl10 karma

Personal in a sense it's something I've done that stems from a desire and capacity to extend myself in unconventional ways. The matching is done based on the size of my organs, blood types, blood mutations, and a few others I can't recall. Some people will match better with others. My blood is a match for 3% of people suffering from sickle cell so in the event a recipient needed an organ from someone with that criteria, I would be able to donate to them even with their unique needs.

Captain_-H177 karma

Wow, that work situation is messed up. How do you feel physically after each of the surgeries? I mean after recovery has there been anything long term?

Also have you considered Be The Match? They do DNA testing for potential bone marrow matches to save the life of cancer patients.

mrcheyl159 karma

Sure is!

After both surgeries you're instructed to take it easy on your core, so no heavy lifting or overexertion. I felt absolutely nothing after the kidney donation. I felt a tightness just on top of the main incision (it's the main incision point where you'd see c-sections performed and 4 tiny laparoscopic points) but that to my understanding is tissue still in the process of healing beneath the skin. That tightness has declined with each month.

I had liver surgery in March of this year and I was doing light exercises around June and using my core again heavily by July. Above all, simply listening to your body is key.

Edit: Yes, I've been registered with Be The Match for almost three years now as a marrow donor!

hackthat44 karma

You just felt tightness? Lucky. I felt like all my organs were painfully out of place for a week. Fine afterwards though. I thought about doing a liver donation but I'm married now and soon to be a dad so maybe one organ donation is enough.

mrcheyl59 karma

Hey, one organ is more than enough, which I'm sure your recipient would say as well as it might have saved their life. The air in the chest and abdomen can be weird and tough to get used, I had much less after the liver donation than the kidney.

Still though, proud of you.

stupidwebsite2218 karma

Do you get post checkups where you can see the re-growing of the liver or something? Sorry maybe dumb question

mrcheyl33 karma

I do, 1 week, 4 weeks, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years.

snimdakcuf15 karma

Truly a shocker that the NYPD would treat their one good officer poorly.

mrcheyl36 karma

I wasn’t a cop, being a civilian employee means I was just a functional employee as opposed to being a cop with badge and gun. Cops have indefinite sick leave so a friend who was a cop and donated never had the issues I faced.

snimdakcuf31 karma

Still shocked. My shocked face that they’d treat a decent human poorly.


mrcheyl20 karma

Yeah, I can imagine how it feels to read this. Living it was hellish at times but I'm pushing on. I appreciate you, though, just these little conversations are nice to have after not sharing much of the story since March.

snimdakcuf13 karma

You’re a really good person and I hope you get justice. You’re a rare unicorn of people and I hope you inspire more.

mrcheyl13 karma

This took me back to Charlie the Unicorn, simpler times.

Thank you, though. Hope you have a lovely holiday season.

R_L_Bmut161 karma

What do you want your next role to be? Both practically/realistically, what are hoping to land as your next job but also ideally, if all bets were off, where would you want to be working?

mrcheyl155 karma

I started years ago in IT support and wound up doing a hybrid of Technology Project Delivery and Product Management. I've been applying mostly for Project Coordinator or Product Management roles whether they be technical or purely functional. Where I'd like to work? Not sure, nothing is off of the table, except going back to the NYPD of course. I want something fast-paced where I can handle things intuitively and creatively.

vailissia39 karma

Are you wishing to stay in New York or is relocation to another state an option?

(I work in IT in the Midwest and know quite a few companies who would be incredibly interested in a PMO)

mrcheyl48 karma

Ideally looking to stay in New York for at least another year or so while I work on making reconciling my finances after the whole situation this year. Feel free to PM me with those companies, though. I don't mind working remotely on MST from the east coast if any of them have virtual roles open.

Gerik22104 karma

Have you consulted a lawyer about how the NYPD treated you?

I'm not a lawyer so take this for what it's worth, but given that you followed proper procedure and received written & signed (as well as verbal) reassurance from them before your liver donation and they failed to deliver, I'd think you would have a very good case for a lawsuit. You're a double organ donor and your leave was specifically for one of those donations, so if this went to trial I can't imagine a jury would ever side against you.

mrcheyl41 karma

I'll PM you.

Gerik2244 karma

Okay, though just to reiterate: I am NOT a lawyer.

mrcheyl47 karma

Lol I read you loud and clear initially. Warning heeded.

bratling6 karma

u/Gerik22 is right. This sounds like a pretty clear case of wrongful termination. there are lawyers who specialize in this area of law. talk to a few and see what they think.

attorney wrongful termination new york city

mrcheyl6 karma

I'll explore this avenue as well. Thanks for mentioning it.

bratling2 karma

Good luck! I’m not normally the type to jump directly to “sue the jerks!” but… this situation is horrible. I’m amazed you are so positive in general after that. You’re a better person than I am!

mrcheyl2 karma

It hasn’t been easy, many points in the last few months felt like I was slowly crumbling which is why I left when I did. It was either going to be stay and feel like I don’t matter or leave and reclaim a sense of self and begin to right the situation. You and the other supportive commenters have been a blessing so thank you!

lionglzer76 karma

Hey there. Thanks for taking the time to type that out, it was an interesting read. I think I'll consider donating a kidney when I have the right cushy desk job. Altruistic donation requires an incredibly rational approach to the decision, do you mind my asking if you've ever been diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorder? Are you a vegetarian or do you make any other lifestyle choices that seem logical to you but aren't universally popular?

mrcheyl147 karma

Hey! Glad you enjoyed the read, and good on your for considering it when the time allows.

I've never been diagnosed as being on the spectrum. I'm not vegetarian but 90% of what I eat is plant based but that stems mostly from now know what foods allow my body to deliver the energy and effort I ask of it, especially during competitive endurance races.

I just chuckled becuase I think a lot of, if not most of what I do, is a bit odd to people on the outside looking in. I can always find time and the ability to help others and as I've grown I've learnt to balance it with my own needs. In 2020 I joined a clinical trial for the Astrazeneca covid vaccine because I knew people of color particpation in similar trials tends to be low and even if I'm one black person, I'm A black person adding to the discovery and findings in a data set contributing to common benefit of public health.

niko-to-keeks69 karma

I work in clinical research, and I wanted to say thank you for participating in the AZ vaccine trial. Pharma is finally starting to recognize the need for more diverse data, and while the industry has a lot of work to do in improving relationships with communities of color, steps are being made in the right direction. Have you considered participating in other clinical trials, such as flu vaccines or other healthy volunteer trials?

mrcheyl40 karma

You and all the other researchers have my love and appreciation. Trying to engineer effective preventative solutions requires an inclusive approach, and I know oftentimes your test groups don't always reflect that.

I have considered volunteering, and once my AZ trial ended I received a survey asking if I'd like to be a part of future trials, and I indicated I would. I haven't heard anything from NYUL just yet, but I plan to look into what other Hospital networks are working on.

svetlana2357 karma

Okay, I have a question that's maybe very stupid, but I'm curious. Since your liver regenerated after the first donation, can you donate a part of your liver again? Will it regenerate once more?

And congrats, you sound like an amazing human being. If you were in my country, you'd literally be a national hero. Shame about your job, but they don't deserve to have you as an employee. You're too good for them.

mrcheyl65 karma

This made me smile because I have a friend that swears she’s going to pay to have a statue made in my honor.

Regarding your question, I don’t think a surgical team would okay me because I’ve already undergone two elective organ donations. I don’t think it’s impossible, but the criteria would be incredibly elaborate for another donation of the regenerated liver to happen.

Also want to point out how refreshing your comment is to read as it focuses on the nature of what I did as opposed to all of the fine print regarding why I might have or might not have been denied my requested leave.

Thank you.

SirJohnOfTheFarts48 karma

You mention being the first black double donor. Is this notable because of some sort of medical compatibility, where you have fewer potential recipients? Or are you highlighting the black community's generally higher reluctance to undergo elective procedures (not, I should note, without good reason- after many years of gross medical malpractice disproportionately levied on communities of color)?

mrcheyl59 karma

You nailed it at the end. A large portion of the community expresses hesitation when considering medical procedures, let alone elective ones that in no way directly serve themselves. It's not so much that I'm more or less medically compatible than others, more of an anomaly where what I've done doesn't align with others within the same demographic.

mchvll44 karma

Hey! I think you're awesome. I've donated a kidney anonymously too. I plan to eventually try to donate a piece of liver, but I've heard that some surgeons are hesitant to perform the surgery if you've already donated a kidney. Was it difficult to find a hospital that would do this?

mrcheyl32 karma

Hey! Kudos to you fellow organ donor! The evaluation is much longer, the testing is more frequent, and with NYPWC, there's a built-in three months period after you've been given the clear to donate when you can. They do this so potential donors have time to sit with the idea and reality. I did both of my surgeries at the same hospital, so I'm not sure if their familiarity with me was a factor but they also know I handled my recovery very carefully, which I'm sure bolstered my interest in the liver donation.

I can't see many hospitals flat-out saying no, but I do expect the programs to have more stringent testing and evaluations for double donors.

CHGhee3 karma

How much push back did they give you while evaluating you for your second donation?

I was a non-directed liver donor at NYP/WC. While I know the team needs to avoid putting undue pressure on potential donors, it felt like some of them were really over-correcting towards trying to dissuade me instead. I believe the psychologist told me something along the lines of: “If I were you’re mother, I would do whatever I could to stop you. But I’m not your mother.”

Anyways, I’m interested in donating a kidney, but a little apprehensive about how much more scrutiny I might have to deal with for round two.

mrcheyl3 karma

What you felt was real, I sensed something similar during my psych evaluations, but not so much from the other members of the team. They have an impossible job where they have to advocate for the safety of the safety and the assuredness of process, and advocate for you and your interests while being careful not to appear as if they want you to do it. It's a delicate dance, but I 10000% felt that after a couple of psych eval conversations. I wonder if it's the same person cause he said something similar to me but again, he isn't so much trying to push you away as he is trying to make sure this is something you want to do.

I say go for it, I say register to do the kidney if you're committed because I did my surgeries, easy to hard, you would be doing them, hard to easy. Granted, yes, complications happen and whatnot but chances are if you made it through the liver okay and have remained in good health I can't see them turning you away. The scrutiny is there as a means of making you vet yourself and your own resolve and you now know you can and did see it through the first time.

It was far less present during the evaluation of my kidney donation so I'm rooting for you to make it through without too much resistance.

oheyitsarainbow21 karma

Having gone through two different major surgeries as a healthy individual, how was the impact and recovery for your body, comparatively speaking? Was one "worse" than the other? Do you have lasting effects from either surgery?

mrcheyl29 karma

The initial recovery, like the hospital stay was very similar between the two. It’s important to mention as well these are my first and two only surgeries ever so the kidney donation was my first time under general anesthesia which waking up from felt completely disorienting. The liver donation took far more energy out of me. I think I slept about 18 hours a day for the first 3 weeks once I was discharged. Not much of an appetite in both instances but especially with the liver donation, eating balanced meals is key because your body is working on regrowing the just removed portion of it.

No lasting effect from either surgeries, I’ve been gearing up for Spartans next year and I feel more ready and complete than I ever have.

IronRT21 karma

What do you think of the ACAB mantra thrown around reddit?

mrcheyl28 karma

Seems massively egregious and tone deaf when I’ve seen cops go to extraordinary lengths to protect people and groups.

firebolt_wt80 karma

Any of these cops helping you now that the organization is screwing you over?

mrcheyl58 karma

Can’t say that any of them are, no.

Funkdrunkscunk20 karma

Did you at any point contact your union? Minimum they likely could have told you that if you quit no Unemployment Insurance.

mrcheyl39 karma

I got the union involved and they did absolutely nothing, they behaved as if they were afraid to speak up.

I know unemployment can be collected after quitting because years ago someone I know was being treated poorly at work, left, and collected unemployment after presenting evidence.

Funkdrunkscunk11 karma

If that's true. That's the exception not the rule. I happy you did what you did. But l Union professionals are smart and we'll give you your options and the likely outcomes. So much really depends on the specifics so I really don't want to comment too much. At the end of the day, unless you have a contract promise made by HR, even in writing are not legally enforceable. I would go to the New York City human rights commission.

Respect that that you'll need an agency to pursue this.

mrcheyl14 karma

Absolutely, unions serve as a rooting advocacy body so their purpose and validity isn’t lost on me in the slightest.

I will reach out to the Human Rights Commission and brief them on the specifics and see what they might have to say.

Gorf_the_Magnificent15 karma

Do you ever worry if you have, or may later have, kids? And if they may need a kidney or liver transplant, you won’t have anything to give them?

mrcheyl57 karma

Not really, I try not to hinge my thought processes on big maybes. Weirdly enough I'm not a huge believer in karma so this isn't one of the situations where I think becuase I've done this, someone will help my kids or mother if they're ever in need, and I sleep okay with that notion.

When I committed to these surgeries it was accessment that at that point, with the variables I can account for, this is what I want to do. They exist and retain their value and impact regardless of what comes down the road. If I do have kids, while they may not get my organs, they will have knowledge of what kind of abilities lies within each of us so though that isn't concrete or tangible it still has a great deal of value.

Leaving_Attica15 karma

Does health insurance typically cover the cost for voluntary donors? If not, does the medical system assist? What support services exist for donors?

Thank you for donating and for drawing attention to the need for organ transplantation and to the needs of voluntary transplant donors. My sister is attempting to get a double lung transplant, and it took us two years to get her in shape to be listed. We have no idea if she will live long enough to receive a transplant.

I only learned recently, that there is a living donor program for lung transplants. The living donors give one lobe of one lung and it does require two donors. Unfortunately, most transplant centers continue to prefer full lung transplants, rather than lobe only transplants although studies show that transplantation of lobes only bestows equal benefit and longevity post transplant. Having had a bilateral mastectomy I know what that surgery is like and so to me it’s a huge deal to consider donating a little bit of my lung.

I hope the NYPD is shamed into making this situation right.

mrcheyl14 karma

First, I wish you and your sister the energy and perseverance to make it to and through surgery when the time comes. Kudos to her and the people supporting her for getting into condition for the surgery. Insurance won't offer to cover recovery costs or lost wages, there's no formal system or assistance in place that applies to me, and I more or less knew this beforehand but counted on the NYPD doing right by their written and signed intention to support me.

Again, I hope you and your family remain in good health and I'm rooting for your sister to get the call sooner than later that she's been matched.

This is my first time hearing about the living lung transplant program. Even

Caligurrl13 karma

Does anyone want to donate a kidney to my brother in law? He's terrified of dying and leaving my sister to care for their severely autistic daughter alone. If anyone is thinking about donating, please consider him.


Edit: a word

mrcheyl10 karma

I just donated some of what others have donated to me. I hope your brother-in-law can be matched. I'll drop a couple of links below to organizations I know and have worked with advocating for matches and donors—best of luck to you and your family.

National Kidney Donation Organization

Waitlist Zero

SignorJC10 karma

Why did you trust HR to retroactively grant you paid leave without having that guarantee in writing?

mrcheyl38 karma

The guarantee was in writing and signed. The issues arose when one of the two internal bodies that ruled over the case said yes, and the other said no. To date I haven't been given a direct answer outside of the reasoning they gave me, which felt hollow from the jump.

SignorJC15 karma

I read that letter and it says it's a request, so it doesn't seem like you were actually guaranteed anything in writing. It's also dated from May, after your surgery.

Unfortunate what happened to you. Sounds like they trotted you out at a donor event and capitalized on the publicity then dropped you. Very shitty but ultimately expected.

mrcheyl11 karma

Yeah the verbiage is somewhat unique to them and how they handle time worked and leave. You're right, and I gave up using my energy to fight with them months ago and on a personal level it stopped being about the money and more about the principle of being an institution dedicated to protecting the public interest, yet fumbled this entire thing when the core of it is very much related to the continuity of health and wellness.

ktpr13 karma

This makes me angry. From reading the letter, although it's not a guarantee (it says for your consideration), it's pretty clear that they were recommending that no leave be levied. I'm surprised the Deputy Commissioner did not write a response. If they had, and in a timely matter, a lot of the poor treatment by NYPD could've been avoided. Bureaucracies and limited thinking really bring the worst out in humanity.

mrcheyl16 karma

Yup you nailed it. If I had a dollar for every time I heard “this is how these matters have always been handled” I while trying to get this resolved when I was still there I would never missed a cent of what was owed to me.

The wild part is the timing isn’t so much an issue because the accommodation was granted after surgery back in 2019. This outcome is the reaction to people letting the paperwork slip through cracks and take up shelter on someone desk and when asked about it, took a defensive stance and sought to rid themselves of the issue, me, entirely.

sonia72quebec8 karma

Altruism is great but when it's start costing you body parts and a good job maybe it's gone too far?

Losing all that weight can change a person psychologically. I hope you're getting therapy. I have met others who just went from an addiction to food to something else. And altruism can be addictive. It feels really good to give, it's a high.

Anyway this is not a critic, it's just one person worrying about you.

Take good care of yourself OP.

mrcheyl19 karma

I'm young, only 33, and I've got time and enough competence to land another job. The surgeries didn't cost me any body parts though. It wasn't a swap for anything, more of an offering in the event someone could use something I didn't need. My liver has since regrown and my kidney functions at 98%.

I feel you though and get your concern but what's to come for me will work out just fine and I would have been rid of an employer that felt it fair to act as my former one did.

UniqueName396 karma

8 months of unpaid leave over 2.5 years.

And it didn’t even cross their mind to ask you to come in and do light duty?

mrcheyl18 karma

I had liver surgery in March of 2022, I was out from then until July. I used my sick/vacation leave after surgery, knowing that the approved document would return whatever I used to my leave balance and cover the remainder of the recovery. My accrued sick/vacation time when combined only lasted until the middle of April so my last paycheck was 4/28/22.

I was out of work for 12 weeks after the liver donation, a predetermined time of recovery by the transplant center. I returned to work fully capable July 15th. I then resigned from the department near the end of August after realizing my efforts and advocation were being met with hostility after that farce of an investigation they launched on me and them notifying me of their intention to terminate me.

All I wanted was at least the same provision they created for me three years prior that aligns with the NY State and the Federal organ donor paid leave policies; 30 days paid leave.

UniqueName39-5 karma

Oh, thought the surgery was in march 2021 for some reason. So 3.5 years.

Did they deny the 30 days paid leave? Or were they trying to say that you were now put on unpaid leave after the 30 days?

Also wow, damn lucky you get 6 weeks paid vacation.

mrcheyl8 karma

Correct, they denied paying for any leave at all so of the 12 weeks out of work, 4 weeks were covered by depleting my vacation and sick leave and the remaining 8 weeks were unpaid.

bunnybash5 karma

NYPD: oh sweet, give us some good press to distract from our shitty unions and lack of accountability for our officers! Yay we found someone to make us look good!!

Also NYPD: what?! You want us to compensate you for this, can’t you make us look good because you like us? Damnit no we’re not paying you and we’re going to screw out as hard as we can because you had the courage to help not just one, but TWO regular citizens…

Sorry to hear the way you were treated, I hope you continue to live courageously and generously despite the small minds and hearts of the shrews at NYPD.

Edit: spelling correction.

mrcheyl5 karma

I love how you summed it is, this is 100000% how it felt as it all played out. And I will, not them or their treatment will get in the way of helping those where and when I can. I appreciate the love!

BruceInc5 karma

I remember reading somewhere that altruistic donors and their immediate family members get immediately placed at the top of the list should one of them ever require a transplant. Is there any truth to that?

mrcheyl6 karma

I don't know how it works regarding liver donations, but it is valid for the kidney. Before surgery, I designated my mother as a voucher holder, so if she ever needs one, not that she goes to the top of the list, but her status is given higher priority through my donation. I am granted the same accommodation if the need ever arises.

Angelusz4 karma

Here you go, I sent you 25 bucks just so I can say that I contributed to some guy donating organs to another so I basically saved a human life myself. Makes sense right?

Haha, you know I'm kidding. Good job man, you'll be alright - Hope you find your new place real fast but I'm not concerned, all the signs are there that you'll be juuuust alright.

Love you.

(Edit: That's from a guy just like you, I didn't donate organs, but I give everyone else my everything in my own way, it's a good way to live life, and together we're gonna make the world a better place)

mrcheyl3 karma

Lol thank you! I appreciate the lightheartedness of your message, and from one overly caring person to another, take care of yourself this holiday season. I appreciate you reading the post and donating.

Angelusz1 karma


mrcheyl2 karma


example5554 karma

How many pounds was the kidney. Is that included in the 220 lb lost?

mrcheyl8 karma

Lol maybe 3? I’d have to double check the surgery notes.

joogle4 karma

Do you have any specific practices or personal philosophy that might help other people to live and give fully, as you have?

Your story is amazing, but it takes an unusually caring and connected person to choose to do something like this. Any suggestions how can each of us cultivate those qualities in ourselves?

mrcheyl8 karma

I wish I did, I was never much into reading, so this wasn't spurred but any piece of work I came across. It also wasn't brought on by anything or anyone in particular. I've always wanted to do things and expressed interest in endeavors that seemed risky or unusual, and as opposed to people sparking that, no one in my circle of friends and family never got in the way. I've always been this way, testing the limits of my understanding and capacity. It's almost as if the absence of a deterrent from those closest to me allows me to continue freely acting on my ideas. Granted, even if people object, I can't see myself being talked out of something I felt passionately about. After my kidney donation, someone at church asked my mother if she was afraid, and she said yes, but once I've committed to a notion especially when it relates to helping others, I'm locked in.

I'm very curious to the genesis of my own capacity of give and offer myself in whatever form suits the need at hand. Saying "just let go and let life comes" sounds like fiction with how many environmental and societyal concerns we all have on our plates these days.

I'll say this. I have a few friends that have and continue to struggle with anxiety. Years ago, one of them approached me regarding a situation they were feeling uneasy about and they were spiralling consider all of thw "what ifs." So I said, okay, lets assume this thing doesn't work out, what happens next? They were able to give me an answer, so I asked them okay what if that plan doesnt work, is there a plan b? The more I gave them "permission" or prompted them to consider the thing not working out, the more they felt at easy with the situation because they had taken the questioning and uncertainty out of the equation and reinforced their ability and willingness to adapt without even knowing it.

With each of these surgeries, I was asked the big questions. What if something happens during surgery, and you die? What if you're scarred? What if your kidney fails and you need one? There are answers and resolutions to all of those questions. My philosophy isn't so much that I have answers. I assume the unknown is a given and act only within the foreseeable future to create the longest-lasting and most meaningful impact possible. Try more, do more, go new places, veer off the path you know from time to time, that's where a lot of the wonder in life resides.

Intrepid_Advice44113 karma

Thank you. I'm a living kidney donor so I understand what that recovery was like. I had to use FEMLA during my recovery and had to return to work after two weeks. It made my recovery incredibly slow even though I didn't have a physically demanding job.

Being black and donating twice is fantastic. I've been in the bone marrow registry for twenty years, but never received a call to donate. They typically need black donors because the black community is so suspicious of the medical community in this country they don't donate as often as white people.

Have you signed up with the bone marrow registry? What did your family think of your donations?

mrcheyl3 karma

Hey! Shame to hear you had to go back to work so quickly but I'm glad you haven't been compromised in any long-term ways. I've been registered with BeTheMatch for about three years now but they haven't contacted me as yet. I'm very aware of the black community's apprehension regarding voluntary medical procedures as well. Hoping to get the call since I'd be more than willing to donate marrow to those in need.

Gaxar13 karma

Wasn’t there an episode of house about this?

mrcheyl2 karma

Maaaaaybe? ER and Greys Anatomy too, it's a multifaceted topic to pick apart, I can see how it could be dressed up for television.

hypoxiate3 karma

Living kidney donor here. What were the procedural and post-surgery recovery differences between the two organs?

mrcheyl3 karma

Firstly, without knowing the circumstances behind your donation, thank you for doing such a great thing for someone else.

Procedurally they were similar, both laparoscopic, though the incision to remove the part of my liver that they took was bigger than the incision my kidney was taken out through. The main kidney incision was half the circumference of my belly button. In contrast, the liver removal incision was a 3-inch incision just above my groin, identical in placement to where a c-section would be performed. The liver donation was seven and a half hours, the kidney was just under four. Similar disorientation waking up from the anesthesia as well.

The significant difference was the lack of energy after the liver donation. I mentioned it elsewhere, but I slept for 16 hours a day for three or four weeks after I was discharged after the liver donation. I had absolutely no energy at all which is fine I supposed cause I'm recovering from surgery so not like I have anywhere to go. Still, after my kidney donation, I was taking long walks a week after surgery and jogging at the two-week point. The tenderness I feel now will continue to subside as it has since the liver donation.

The main incision point from the kidney donation around the belly button took about 8-12 months for all tenderness to go away and the liver incision seems to be following that same trajectory. Long term, won't know because the liver donation was earlier this year but I have zero complications or issues related to both surgeries as of now.

Snuffleupagus033 karma

So am likely to become a liver donor for a family member in the next few years. Is there anything I can do to prepare (physically is my thought, but also mentally)? All my google searches just result in generic ‘be healthy’ statements.

mrcheyl5 karma

u/CHGhee got it tight; outside of taking care of yourself and your health as best as possible, reducing Tylenol/acetaminophen reduces the amount of work you're asking your liver to do and you almost want your liver to be in a relaxed state, so to speak. Might be obvious but it's worth noting that alcohol should be avoided I'm sure you've seen that as well. I think my transplant team wanted me to steer clear of it for a month before surgery, but I ended up playing it safe and not having any for the prior three months.

The body fat is true, it's more related to the ease of harvesting the organ using the tools they have. The lower the body fat, the less likely they'll need larger incisions to remove the piece of your liver. Not saying you should immediately try to drop weight if you fear you might not have "ideal" body fat percentages. When the time comes, the surgeons and physician assistants can give you additional information on their approach.

That's awesome, by the way. Regardless of when of it happens, it's cool that you're expressing interest in it.

theflyingvs2 karma

Do you feel mentally or spiritually different now than you did before giving away your liver and kidney?

mrcheyl3 karma

Richly, I feel a lot more still and at peace. I’ve always been pretty mild mannered and easy-going but I feel as if I’ve hit a point where everything that comes after this point of my life is the cherry on top, so to speak. Not that I am done with life, but as far as committing to a personal goal or a resolve, I think I’ve done that, but it’s worth mentioning that color that mentality existed before the surgeries. It’s more so the line of thinking and consistency of actions that allow me to feel that sensation.

Meatchris2 karma

My friend altruistically donated a kidney to an unknown recipient.

I've held her in greater esteem ever since (she was always pretty awesome)

She's spoken at length about why she did it, going so far as to write a book about the experience.

I think I need to ask a question h̶o̶w̶ ̶d̶o̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶f̶e̶e̶l̶ ̶a̶b̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶c̶l̶i̶m̶b̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶u̶n̶i̶n̶v̶i̶t̶e̶d̶ ̶u̶p̶o̶n̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶f̶r̶i̶e̶n̶d̶'̶s̶ ̶r̶o̶o̶f̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶h̶a̶v̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶b̶e̶e̶r̶s̶?̶ ̶

Do you think your donated parts will retain any semblance of you, and influence them in any way? Change their opinions on brussel sprouts? (obv recognise their hideous nature)

If you ever meet them, would you get a vibe? If you saw them walking along, could you retake control of the donated part?

Thank you for your sacrifice.

mrcheyl2 karma

Your friend does seem pretty awesome. Climbing uninvited upon my friend's roof and having beers sounds like a good time. Sitting, dreaming, commiserating, all without the worry or pressure of figuring out what happens when we leave the roof; a space in time where I wouldn't have to be anyone or anything except for simply being present.

Lmaoo, I can't do brussel sprouts so if either of my recipients continues to enjoy them, then we know there's no part of my intrinsically linked to my organs. I think if I were to meet my recipients and we began to explore each other and develop some understanding, we may see parts of myself that now reside within them. Still, science might argue that's a metaphysical sensation instead of a physical trait adaptation.

I wouldn't want to in any way change them or influence a shift. Those people are unique, I've simply been inherited as a component. As time passes, I do think I will reach out to my kidney recipient and try to go visit. I think it could be nice to chat and see how they've been doing since the transplant.

CottonCandyKitkat2 karma

Do you know of any helpful things you can do with your body if you can’t donate organs or blood for medical reasons?

I’ve applied to be part of a couple of studies and trials, but was rejected due to a very complex medical history (to say the least!). Sadly, I can’t do much else as I myself will one day need a full liver transplant and have almost needed to go on the kidney filter and been on a ventilator before as well!

mrcheyl3 karma

Wow, I take my hat off to you for wanting so intimately to help others even though you yourself are faced with health-related challenges.

Like the other commenter said, you can opt to donate your body to science after your death. Stepping away from the physical side, you can help with outreach and being the voice linking potential donors to those in need. The groups I mentioned in the post advocate publicly for recipients and encourage people interested in donating to see if they match. You may not be able to apply your body in ways you'd like, and much to your preservation, but you sound like you'd be capable of having a hand in linking those in need to those willing and ready to give.

I hope your health remains in a comfortable and manageable place and when the time comes for your surgery, I'll be rooting for you.

xEternal-Blue2 karma

What would you say is the most important tip that people don't talk about when losing weight?

Also is there much risk being a kidney/liver donor?

Keep being kind! It's an amazing thing you've done.

mrcheyl2 karma

Thank you!!

Salt, salt, salt, salt! There's so much salt in the foods we eat especially anything prepared for us or packaged. No one's at fault for liking the things they do either, I've always maintains that there's no such thing as a bad food, it's the over consumption of certain foods or food groups and lack of activity that often times leads to health complications and difficulty making changes.

Salt is quiet in how it works its way into our diets. It masks itself as flavor, but in exchange for a boost in flavor, we hold on to a lot more water which causes us to feel bloated all the time. Things like high blood pressure stem largely from prolonged intake of excess sodium.

Losing weight can often be done in the kitchen. It's a product of intake more so than the outcome of high physical activity. When I began losing weight and making all of my meals at home, I learned that cooking longer will get you the taste you're after instead of using salt to cut the cooking time down to manipulate the flavor. Many of us don't have hours a day to spend in the kitchen, so salt is a valid means of preparing a meal you can enjoy. No one wants to eat food they hate for a few pounds; that's no way to live. Any changes we make to our intake must be done with the intention of them being sustainable.

The risks of donating those organs are primarily confined to the procedures. Most surgeries come with risks like excess loss of blood which means you'd need a transfusion, infections, hernias during recovery, the "run-of-the-mill" risks related to most surgical procedures. the liver donation did have a unique risk called a bile leak, but even that was something they would monitor before I was discharged from the hospital and correct if necessary.

The risks afterward aren't tied to the donation of the organs but the potential that if one of them becomes compromised in the future, say my kidney, there's no backup anymore, and I would have to be placed on the transplant list.

And thank you! I fully intend on giving in whatever ways I can.

TheSOB881 karma

What do you think of body cams?

mrcheyl6 karma

When they work and the footage is retrievable without issue it’s a solid way to introduce a perspective outside of he said, she said.

BoosherCacow-2 karma


mrcheyl-8 karma

Considering this is the second time I’m sharing the story since Mach, not difficult at all.

Thendofreason-2 karma

I think it should be that everyone should be on the organ donation list unless you want to opt out. You can't opt out unless you are 18(so parents can't force their kids). And if you do opt out then if you ever need something you will be put on the bottom of the list.

I have always been on the organ donation list. Even though have had people try to stop me. I almost was able to donate bone marrow because I was a match. But then they either found someone else or the patient didn't need it anymore. They never told me why I didn't need to donate anymore.

What are your thoughts?

mrcheyl3 karma

I’ve been thinking about this for years and I agree. This working in the US would take the kind of protections I’ve been commenting about today where there can be no doubt that people would not suffer financially or have their employment brought into question. Only then would it work or else people would opt out by nature.

I love the idea, I also acknowledge valid reservations about it.

Thendofreason3 karma

Lots of people die who have working organs that get thrown into the ground. If you are religious enough that you don't want to give, then you also think that you don't need to receive(because you believe that others shouldn't give either).

Also, watching an organ harvesting is wild. They also in that operation room for a looong time.

mrcheyl2 karma

Yup, my liver surgery was between seven and eight hours I think. The process really isn’t for everyone and I respect that but to your credit a lot of organs have gone to graves that could have gone to those in need.

Astavri-3 karma

What do you think about the lack of donors for some ethnicities, which make it harder for recipients to find a match? How can you help change this for the better as a POC yourself? With organ donation it may be different, I'm thinking more of bone marrow transplants.

For those that don't understand, read this: https://bethematch.org/transplant-basics/matching-patients-with-donors/how-does-a-patients-ethnic-background-affect-matching/

Also, I'm not trying to be rude or anything but isn't asking for financial help due to being a donor sort of illegal and against donor policies? Not trying to be a dick just trying to clarify. You definitely deserve to have a job where you have a hostile free work environment.

mrcheyl8 karma

I've been registered with Be The Match for a few years now. I've got no more organs to spare so donating marrow is the last way I can offer myself as a person of color increasing the odds that another individual of color can receive the treatment they needs.

I also donate platelets twice a month. My blood is a match for 4% of sickle cell patients in need of platelets so that's another way I've tried to target potentially underserved groups. I also enrolled in the AstraZeneca vaccine trials in 2020. The trial formally ended a few weeks ago and they mentioned I was one of only two in their study of the few hundred enrolled.

HellCrownCult-4 karma


mrcheyl27 karma

I don't think it should be on the employers. I'd rather seen the provisions be made by States or at the Federal level. This isn't something that can easily be abused and not every day you can pop into an OR for major surgery. The framework is already there in New York State and at the Federal level, but only New York State employees and Federal employees are given the allowance. Having New York City adopt a similar policy would go a long way to easing strain like this. Recovery times are pre-determined, not run-on.

HellCrownCult-23 karma


mrcheyl20 karma

I'm not a lawmaker but, yeah? Taking a month off to build a house seems inherently different to doing something electively related to your body so that another person can continue living. At least when I think of it reversed, if I ever needed and organ I'd like the potential donor to have any and all accommodations to allow them to donate free of financial or employment risk.

If you don't see it that way, that's entirely okay. Again, not a policy guy just focused on life and preserving it within reason.

HellCrownCult-19 karma


mrcheyl9 karma

Oh no, just the recovery after the surgery, not the surgery itself. Okay, so for instance, New York State and Federal Employees get 30 paid leave days after donating organs. This is what the NYPD did for me in 2019. All I asked them to do was duplicate this allowance and that we get the paperwork done ahead of surgery. It's not common, in the last five years the two organ donation surgeries from a civilian NYPD employee were both mine.

I see what you're saying but taking a step back, the infrequent nature of what I did, next to the intrinsic positive impact, seems to warrant adoption of the State and Federal policy on the city level. Building a home is a massive positive act, and digging wells, too. But digging wells tends to happen with the assistance of grants. All I'm saying is something, anything, should be in place to keep a hold on the number of organ recipients when a potential donor comes forward.

blitzkreig901 karma

All the organ donation apart, I hope that someday I am able to handle conflict as well as you.

mrcheyl3 karma

It's not something I enjoy in the slightest but in this case, it's necessary.

podsedneck6 karma

This is specifically relating to organ donation, not another cause that you've invented. I feel we're detracting away from the actual discussion, not sure if you're being purposely obtuse. Edit: Contributed a bit to OPs GoFundMe listed above, I encourage others to donate also rather than just try to derail in the comments. Best of luck u/mrcheyl

mrcheyl3 karma

Thanks u/podsedneck, it's appreciated!

j5a9-5 karma

What are your thoughts on Matthew 6? :

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full...

mrcheyl13 karma

I can see how this could look like me seeking to entertain the masses or create the pomp and circumstance. I want nothing from this but for the conversation to generate inquiries on protections for those that take similar risks.

I made peace with what I did months ago before I donated. I signed my DNR well aware of what it entails. My placement in heaven is whatever it will or will not be. I’m not concerned with an outcome in this case, merely the impact and what reverberations might help grant accommodations for those that merit them.

My reward in full was seeing what I possess in myself. This post, these comments, this is me sharing my view, experience expanding what the human capacity is capable of.

4_bit_forever-22 karma

How long can you honestly expect them to be able to afford paying you for nothing though?

mrcheyl33 karma

The length of my leave was outlined directly from the surgical team so it wouldn't be indefinite.

mcdevistator16 karma

Lol the NYPD could afford that shit indefinitely

mrcheyl21 karma

$11 billion is their budget for next year so they wouldn’t have missed what I was owed, but here we are.

hillo538-61 karma

Do you really think donating organs will redeem you morally? The nypd does much more damage than a kidney and half a liver almost everyday

The fact they mistreated you should show you what you were really doing: helping wicked people

mrcheyl21 karma

Never considered any kind of moral redemption. If anything, what I made while working for the NYPD allowed me cast an even wider net regarding the people I can reach and motivate to make choices to better themselves or others.