It took a while for me to really meet Amy Donohue. I knew her because she was famous … to me, at least. She is a recurring speaker at Ignite Phoenix and Ignite Phoenix After Hours. She has classic, bad-girl movie star style, and she’s a hot chick. When I finally met her face-to-face, we realized we “knew” each other via Twitter and I realized I had to know more about her. Amy is about to embark on an amazing road trip, so I caught her just in time for an interview.
In April of 2011, she donated her right kidney to a friend’s mom. She met the friend through Twitter, so social media played a big part in the process. Now, Amy is making a documentary about her experience and the experiences of other kidney transplant patients and donors. From foodie, comedian, and socialite, Amy has now become a hero; read on and get to know the lovely, brave Ms. Donahue.
An H and Five Ws with Amy Donohue,
Comedian and Kidney Donor
Once upon a time, you were a humble comedian and Phoenix foodie. How on earth did you become a heroic kidney donor?!
It honestly happened because of the relationships I’ve built on Twitter. I wouldn’t have responded to a random tweet. A woman (Kirti) I had originally met on Twitter sent out a tweet about how her mother was suffering from kidney failure. I had already been tweeting with Kirti, and we got together with other friends for dinner several months before. I was getting into the tub, saw the tweet, and responded. Crazy, right?
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My mother. She divorced my father when I was just eight. I saw her go through a lot of hard times, financially and emotionally. Being the oldest and seeing it all firsthand made me the person I am today.
What made you decide to make a documentary about your experience as a donor?
I was on my way to a gig last July and picked up a couple comics. On the ride over, I told them I was thinking about making a documentary. I really wanted to meet all these donors who I had built relationships with over the past two years. What better way than a road trip? Wait. Let’s film it!!! There you go: Social Media Stole My Kidney.
Where do you feel most inspired?
Believe it or not, I am an introvert and my inspiration comes when I am alone. Whether I am walking Dexter or just sitting on the couch, that’s where my ideas come from. Oh, and some of my best comedy jokes were written in the bathroom.
When have you been most afraid? (I’d say “pre-op” is a fair answer …)
Honestly, I wasn’t afraid going into surgery. In fact, I didn’t have much fear at all, except for when I lost my job. I’ve been most afraid when, with my business, money isn’t coming in like I need. I think the biggest fear in my life at all times is financial. I’m slowly learning to let go of the worry and just work as hard as I can.
WHY is it so important to spread the word about kidney donation?
As of today, there are 118,095 people waiting for an organ. Of those, 96,086 need a kidney. My surgery took 90 minutes. I was out of the hospital within 48 hours of donating. Yes, there is ALWAYS the possibility of something going wrong during surgery. There are always risks. But you take a risk with your life every time you get behind the wheel, especially in Phoenix.
My life has changed drastically since donating. I look at everything differently. I have a greater appreciation for the good things, and I am not as concerned with the petty. I saved a life. I gave someone a better quality of life. Who wouldn’t want to do that???
(Learn more about Amy and her quest to travel the country at http://fabamy.wordpress.com/blog/. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TheFabulousOne. See her Ignite Phoenix presentation about the donation process at http://igniteshow.com/videos/ignite-phoenix-10-social-media-stole-my-kidney.)