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CU hero gives gift of life
COLCHESTER, Conn. (12/14/09)--In August, Fred Brown, director of marketing and member development at Northeast Family FCU, Manchester, Conn., saw a TV news story about a man who donated a kidney to help a coworker. "I thought, ‘That sounds neat--I’d like to save a life,’" Brown told News Now. In early September, Brown began the process of donating one of his kidneys by altruistic donation--which means that the donor and recipient are usually anonymous, though they could have the option of meeting later. During the next couple months, Brown underwent a laborious process of medical testing and meeting with a social worker, psychologist and transplant coordinator. On Dec. 2, Brown underwent surgery to remove his kidney for the donation. The surgery was successful. “Everything was as I was told,” Brown said. Brown stayed in the hospital for five days, and will be off from work for four to six weeks. While he was in the hospital, Brown met the woman who received his kidney. The donation saved her life. The woman, Pam Cyr, had seen a news story about Brown several days before surgery, and “put two and two together.” “She’s a very nice woman,” Brown said. One day while Brown was in the hospital, Cyr visited him. He was asleep, so she left him a note: “Your kidney visited.” Brown said the two plan to stay in touch. “She actually lives one town over from me, and we know some of the same people,” he said. After undergoing the donation process, Brown advised those who are considering donating a kidney to do so. “Don’t wait,” he said. “Just do it. Don’t be greedy. You have two kidneys--one to give away.” Besides being healthy, Brown advised the donor to ensure support from family because the donation process will affect them also. “Make sure your family is behind you,” he said. He also said to make certain there’s nobody in the family who may need a kidney later. Northeast Family FCU staff was very supportive of Brown’s decision to donate, he said. When asked if working for a credit union has affected his sense of altruism, Brown said that individuals who work for credit unions are already giving people. His donation, a personal decision, was coincidental with being a credit union employee, but at the same time, his gift goes “hand in hand” with the credit union philosophy. “Fred has a great heart for credit unions,” said Kathy Hammond, vice president of business development at Kent CU in Ohio and a friend of Brown’s. “He also is a hero in his personal life.” Northeast Family FCU has $64 million in assets.
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