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Taunya Moore did something for a fellow human being that was unusual and profound. But the Cotati resident prefers the act not be elevated to heroic, or even extraordinary.

Because she’d like for many of the rest of us to feel fully capable of doing it, too.

Years after Moore resolved to one day donate one of her kidneys to someone whose life or quality of life depended on a transplant, she did it.

She’d been in a hospital only once before, to deliver her daughter 28 years ago, when she was admitted to the UCSF Medical Center in January. A surgeon removed her perfectly good right kidney, which was promptly transplanted into someone she’d never met, Santa Rosa single dad Richard Lazovick.

Moore, 50 and a software engineer at CA Technologies in Petaluma, spent three nights at the hospital on San Francisco’s Parnassus Street.

“The whole time, my pain level was never more than four out of 10,” she said. “The fourth morning, when I woke up I think I walked a mile” in the halls.

While on one of her walks, she stopped into Lazovick’s room.

They’d shared emails but never met. Lazovick, 55, a techie who teaches people to use computers, tablets, cellphones and such, thanked her from the depths of his heart. Moore assured him she was pleased to give him a kidney, and that it wasn’t a big deal.

“To me, it is,” he said.

They came together through an April 2017 Sonoma Stories profile that described Lazovick’s yearning for a kidney. With both of his own having largely shut down, he was virtually tethered to a home dialysis system that cleared waste and extra fluid from his blood.

He said, “the doctors keep telling me, ‘You need a live donor. You need a live donor.’”

According to the National Kidney Foundation, 13 people die each day awaiting a donated kidney.

The father of 16-year-old Joshua needed a donated kidney from a healthy person to restore his lost freedom of movement and vitality, and boost prospects for a long life.

He said of his son, “I want to be here to see him graduate, get married, have kids.”

Moore read the story. It struck a chord, because maybe seven years earlier she’d read an article about healthy people donating a kidney to someone suffering from potentially fatal renal failure. She made a note to self: When the situation is right, give someone in great need a kidney.

Moore isn’t sure why upon reading Lazovick’s plea she didn’t immediately go to the UCSF website a complete a potential donor questionnaire. But not long after, her daughter Susannah, read the story and, aware that her mom intended to be a kidney donor, told her she thought Lazovick, a single dad living in Sonoma County, was the perfect donor-recipient match for her.

Moore, who won’t be surprised if her daughter one day donates a kidney, completed and submitted the questionnaire to ucdonor.org.

“They called me about three weeks later,” she said. And the process began to determine if she was a match for Lazovick and healthy enough to donate a kidney.

There was a 24-hour urine test, plenty of blood tests, an EKG, chest X-ray, CAT scan, psychological survey — great effort goes into assuring that all systems are go for a prospective kidney donor.

All of that was paid for by Lazovick’s health insurance.

Moore said the process of preparing for the surgery prompted her to become even healthier: She lost some weight, put more effort into her yoga.

“I just kind of mentally prepared to give this kidney,” she said.

There were more than 30 other good Samaritans who’s also completed the UCSF questionnaire and expressed interest in giving Lazovick a kidney. But over time, all were either disqualified because of health or compatibility issues, or they changed their minds.

Moore said her boyfriend was open with concerns about the possible risks accompanying the kidney donation.

Throughout the process, she said, the people at UCSF never pressured her but encouraged her to ask questions, conduct research, express any doubts and know that at any time, right up to the moment of surgery, she could back out.

The transplant surgery was scheduled for the morning of Jan. 5. Moore was wheeled into surgery sometime after 7:30. Her right kidney was removed laparoscopically, without the need for a large incision, and transplanted into Lazovick. He remembers looking up at a clock in a post-op room. It was 10:45 a.m.

“I was thirsty,” Lazovick said. “I thought, ‘It’s done.’”

He’s deeply grateful to Moore for the liberating change in his life. He’s no longer tethered to dialysis lines and his energy is building.

“The other night,” he said, “I woke up in a panic and checked my stomach and was confused when I didn’t have a (dialysis) tube coming out of my abdomen. I then got up and walked into my kitchen, just because I could!”

Moore was back to work in 17 days with a few new rules: No contact sports that could damage her remaining kidney, and no ibuprofen, which is processed through the kidney.

Lazovick’s recovery, as expected, hasn’t been as quick and robust as his body adjusts to a new organ. He’s taking a number of medications and acutely aware of what he eats and drinks. Just 12 days after surgery he was back to walking Spring Lake Regional Park.

Chris Smith is at 707-521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.

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