organ donation

Gay Teen’s Organs Rejected Due To His Love Orientation

It is every parent’s worst nightmare. After over a year of bullying, sixteen-year-old AJ Betts took his own life. Teased for being gay and of mixed race, Betts could no longer endure the torment of his classmates. He died last July. Just a few months prior, the kind-hearted teen had learned about organ donation when he went to get his driver’s license. He informed his mother, Sheryl Moore, that he would like to be an organ donor if anything happened to him.

Gay Organs Rejected Due To His Sexual Orientation

After Betts’ suicide, Moore obeyed his wishes, staying by his hospital bed while doctors removed various organs for donation. They took his kidneys, liver, heart, and lungs. They did not, however, take his eyes. What was their reasoning? Betts was gay, and the FDA states in its organ donation guidelines that men who have had love-making with other men in the past five years cannot be organ donors. Supposedly, this is because of the risk of HIV or Hepatitis B transmission. In the case of A.J. Betts, his mother did not even know if he was ever love – active.

Blood donation requirements are even stricter when it comes to gay men. Recently, the American Medical Association (AMA) has even said that it opposes the incredibly strict blood donation guidelines. Unfortunately, these restrictions have been in place for over three decades now, preventing an entire community from donating much-needed blood and plasma.

During the infancy of the AIDS epidemic, testing was unreliable. This led to the rule that men who were physically active with other men after the year 1977 could not donate blood. Meanwhile, heterosexuals who have participated in risky activity are looked upon more favorably as donors. Many of them can donate just one year after making love with a partner infected with HIV.

Over the years, the ability to detect the virus became much easier. Testing methods improved, and patients benefited from fast results. Unfortunately, the blood donation guidelines did not change with the times. Gay men are still subjected to the same antiquated regulations. Recently, this has become a very hot topic within the medical community, with the FDA holding meetings to determine whether or not the rules should change.

In the case of A.J. Betts, the decision not to accept his eyes brought even more pain to his mother, who was already suffering from overwhelming grief. Her son, who had been bullied in his short life, was also being discriminated against in death.

Man Wore Sandwich Board for A Year to Find Kidney Donor for Dying Wife

By Divya Shree
Edited By Stephanie Dawson

An American man, Larry Swilling, sets an inspiring example of true love. This South Carolina couple is so happy together that they don’t want to live without each other. Mr. Swilling promised his lovely wife Jimmie Sue, who had only one kidney, to get her a kidney that could save her life. Mr. Swilling is a 78 year old man who was so determined to get a kidney that he wore a sandwich board which had “Need Kidney 4 Wife” written on it, reported by Fox Carolina.

Larry Swilling need kidney for wife

After carrying this board and walking the streets of his hometown in Carolina for about a year, he received news that the Medical University of South Carolina found a donor who could donate a kidney to his wife.
Jimmie Sue, 76, was born with only one kidney and was told by the doctor that she would need a new one soon as her existing kidney was failing to function properly. She did not have much time to live. Mrs. Swilling was not compatible to receive a kidney from her husband or three children so they had to wait for a suitable organ. Mr. Swilling could not imagine his life without his wife, they have been happily married for 57 years.

Larry Swilling-need kidney

“I knew it was going to happen, because I know Larry. He wouldn’t stop until he got me one,” said Jimmie Sue, his proud wife.
The board Mr. Swilling was carrying listed his phone number so that people could contact him directly. His board got the attention of several people with the help of media and many people came forward to lend help but provided no match.

Larry Swilling

The determined man didn’t give up, he continued to search for a suitable kidney that could save the life of his loving wife. “I love her more now I believe than when I married her because we’re not two, we’re one,” he said. “We need each other.”
After a lot of hard work and several attempts, finally he got a savior, Kelly Weaverling, a retired Navy Lieutenant Commander who offered to donate one of her kidneys for this lifesaving operation.
The operation was conducted in September when Kelly Weaverling came forward after the final confirmation tests that took place in Charleston. The operation has been successful and the couple is so happy and grateful to Kelly Weaverling that they can not thank her enough for her lifesaving gift.

kidney-Larry Swilling

When Kelly Weaverling was asked what she had in mind when she took the step forward to help the couple, she said that she had to do something to help them, “It’s good to do something and give these people hope,” she said. The only thing that the flight lieutenant, Kelly Weaverling asked as her return gift was that Mr. Swilling to look after his wife.


Every 10 minutes someone is added to the National Transplant Waiting List.
Every donor can on average save up to 8 lives.
Every day an average of 79 people receive organ transplants and 18 people die waiting for transplants.
The gap between organ donors and people on the transplant waiting list continues to widen.

Check out this amazing infographic to find some very important information about organ donation.



It all started back when my sister was 19 years old. She got step throat and never finished all of her medication, as she felt better she didn’t think she needed to finish it. Lesson learnt, always complete all medication as prescribed….it is so important to finish it so this doesn’t happened, but who would have known…Each day I watched my sister getting sicker and sicker from this kidney disease.

I was 21 at the time and she was 19, I said to her: “Sis I am going to give you a kidney when the day comes you need it.”

Well in 2004 she was getting sicker and sicker, and started making many trips to the doctors. I went to alot of appointments with her. Then while on one appointment we were asked to go to a meeting regarding transplants, it was only a information meeting but I was so excited, even though she wasn’t ready for a transplant. We went to that meeting a couple of weeks later, and I knew at the moment I was really going to do this, it was my dream coming true, I was going to help save life, not just any life but my sister my friends life….

We came home from that meeting and I was on the phone requesting the information to be sent to me. I received the forms 3 days later, well that same day I filled them out and mailed them right back. So I waited a few days and heard nothing, so again I was on the phone asking when do we start testing.

Within a few weeks it all started, it was real and test after test I called wanting the next test. I guess I was the one pushing for this more than my sister…There was a lot of tests to do, and a little extra due to our family history. So the day of the last test, I was on the edge.

I remember I was on lunch break at the mall and my cell phone rang, it is funny now when I think back to that day, being told in the middle of a shopping center the transplant was in 2 weeks from that day. EXCITED lol just a bit

Well reality set in, I was so excited this was all happening, it was 2 weeks after my sister’s 47th birthday and 6 days before my birthday.So I waited the next 2 weeks, I already waited over 20 years … We had to go to another province for the transplant.

The night before we stayed at a hotel, we talked and laughed and cried, my sister Cathy scared to death and me dancing with excitement.We checked into the hospital the next morning Feb 13, 2008. I was still full of excitement and she was worried about me, I assured her I would be fine….

The surgeon came in later that afternoon and explained the procedure to me. When he said he was taking my left kidney I questioned him, it was just I was left handed and assumed that was my stronger kidney.

A few hours later, my husband and I met the surgeon in the elevator and he looked at me and said ” He took another look”, and was going to take my right kidney, I have no idea to this day why I questioned the surgeon, but it was good I did, the left kidney would not have worked, I believe it was all the prayers and GOD who changed his mind, but I am so glad because the left kidney would not have worked.

The surgery was the next morning at 6:00, I was up and waiting, you would think I was going to go on a trip…lol

My husband and my Mom asked if I was NERVOUS, my reply “NOT AT ALL”, and if I could I would do it all over again. But the main reason for this is just to let people know DONATING SAVE LIVES.

All I can say is “PEOPLE PLEASE DONATE IT SAVES LIVES. I DID IT AND I FEEL GREAT AND LOVE MY SISTER WITH ALL MY HEART…. That was 4 years ago in February and she is still here with us today !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



“To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.” – Brandi Snyder

Marina Gallagher
Founder Kidney Wishes
Don’t take your organs to heaven with you.
Heaven knows we need them here. ~Author Unknown

A very amazing and touching documentary about kidney donation from different perspectives. It’s so amazing to see there’re some people out there who do such sacrifices for other human beings; And the more outstanding fact is that, many of the donors and recipients didn’t know each other before. So they gave life to someone who have never met before.

The Search and the Gift from John Tait on Vimeo.

“To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.” – Brandi Snyder

Thanks to Marina Gallagher for sharing this breath-taking video.

Marina is founder of Kidney Wishes, a network of good that promotes kidney donations and connects donors and recipients.