We've all heard of the concept of paying it forward, but Erin Rollman, one of the creators and mainstays of Buntport Theater, is taking it several steps further than most of us could ever have imagined: She's donating a kidney to someone she's never met.
Evan Weissman, longtime Buntport collaborator and founder of the political activism group Warm Cookies of the Revolution, says the idea began with "a comedian friend in town who has had all sorts of health problems and needed a kidney transplant. Erin went to get the test and wasn't a match, and it got her thinking: If I'm willing to give up my kidney for a friend, what does it matter who I'm giving it to? She signed up to donate." See also:Six reasons to buy a subscription to Buntport's tenth season
According to Weissman, Rollman will enter Porter Hospital tonight. After the operation, her kidney will be flown quickly to Virginia, where the recipient is waiting: "I understand that because of the way they do transplants and the people on the waiting list, her doing this starts a chain and seven other people are getting kidneys," Weissman says. A "daisy chain" exists where a patient has a family member who's willing to donate but isn't a good match. When an outside donor comes forward, that family member donates to another patient, and the chain can then be continued.
Weissman believes that kidney transplant surgery is more complicated for the donor than the recipient. With the recipient, "They don't take out old kidney, the one that doesn't work, because they don't want the surgery to be too invasive. What Erin's doing is more difficult," he says.
"I just feel it's an uplifting positive thing, a very high level of charity."
Weissman had more to say on Facebook: "The idea of a Superhero never caught on with me. It always made me feel like we couldn't solve our own problems (individually or collectively) and that we needed some kind of superior being to rescue us. However, I find that having regular heroes, folks who inspire us to be and do differently is quite empowering. I have a lot of heroes, but today I'm thinking of my great friend, Erin Rollman. ...
"The thing about heroes is that they shouldn't be put on a pedestal. Shine some light on them for a bit, learn, reflect, and perhaps act. ... What can we all do to expand our moral imaginations and help others? Thanks Erin. Giving you big love and good vibes..."
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Hannah Duggan, another Buntport member, also chimed in on Facebook: "Tomorrow morning my friend is donating her kidney to someone she doesn't know across the country in hopes of helping out a ton of people. A kidney chain of sorts. So today and tomorrow everyone should do something to help someone out. If you can give money ... Great! If you help your mom move some shit ... Great. Let's just remember to help people today and tomorrow and every day for that matter and color my friend GOLD!!! With a speedy recovery because we have more good to do."