COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WRIC) — Tracey and Rick Ridpath are husband and wife, parents and teachers for Colonial Heights Public Schools. Now they are also one of the few couples in the entire country to both donate kidneys to complete strangers.
8News Anchor Amy Lacey spoke with both of them about why they decided to give this gift of life.
“A dear friend of ours, Roger Green, passed away from a rare form of bladder cancer,” says Tracey. “Just one day it popped into my head that I could do something for somebody else in memory of Roger.”
Adds Rick, “For me, it was no different than seeing somebody stranded on the side of the road. I have an opportunity to change someone’s life. My very first registration at VCU, the nurse said, ‘And who are you donating to?’ And I just said, ‘Whomever God ordains.'”
“After I came back from my surgery, I gave a short little lesson to my students, and I was explaining how many people are on the kidney waiting list,” Rick remembers. “One of my students said, ‘You can cross one of them off,’ and I was like, that kid got it, he understood. Be the change you wish to see in the world. You’re not guaranteed anything in this life, but I was guaranteed a chance to help somebody.”
Tracey, who believes in exercising what she calls an ‘attitude of gratitude,’ says donating her kidney was a natural extension of that mindset.
“I just have a lot of wonderful things in my life, but this has given me maybe a new purpose.” she explains. “We would absolutely love to inspire someone else to do this.”
According to the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Hume-Lee Transplant Center, where the Ridpaths gave their gift, more than 100,000 people are waiting for a kidney right now. Every ten minutes another person is added to the list.
Follow this link to connect with Donate Life Virginia and learn more about becoming a living donor.
VCU is also holding a Living Kidney Donation Q&A Session on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. It will be held at the VCU Health N.O.W. Center located at 11958 West Broad Street in Short Pump.