Stony Brook teacher Murphy donates kidney to patient in need


Victoria Farley

Murphy smiles for the camera.

Victoria Farley, Co-Sports Editor

Aimee Murphy has lived in Westford her whole life. She taught fifth grade at Abbot Elementary School fora number of years and has been teaching sixth grade English at Stony Brook Middle School for the past eight years. Throughout her teaching career, she has made a positive impact on all of her students. Just recently, she has expanded her impact on others, selflessly donating a kidney to her friend’s son. 

The whole process began in December of 2020 when the son of one of Murphy’s closest friends was diagnosed with kidney disease. Murphy’s friend has been a strong supporter of her throughout her whole life, and Murphy found this as a chance to return the favor.

“She has been a dear friend of mine for over 20 years. She also became my mother’s caregiver for over 10 years until her death. She saved me in so many ways,” Murphy said. “I was able to still teach, be a mother to my three kids, and try to have a typical family.”

Originally, the boy was treated with medication, then after Christmas in 2020, he began dialysis. Dialysis is a process that removes unnecessary liquids and waste products from one’s blood when the kidneys are failing to. This is when the search for a kidney donor started.

Murphy was quick to help as she reached out to the Dartmouth Hitchcock donor team in Lebanon, New Hampshire on Dec. 29 for an interview, putting her name in as a person who could possibly donate a kidney.

The odds were not on their side as there was only a 10% chance of being a perfect match for the kidney. However, Murphy passed the kidney function test, which meant that she and her friend’s son had matching kidneys, officially allowing Murphy to donate her’s.

“The purpose of the kidney function test is to see what percentage each of my kidneys were functioning,” Murphy said. “The differential needs to be 5% or less to donate. Most people have kidneys that can work 70 to 30 or 60 to 40, and it never affects them. But to donate, my kidneys had to be close to 50-50.” 

The surgery took place on Wednesday, May 10, and everything went according to plan, allowing for Murphy to currently be recovering at home in good health. While in the process of recovering, Murphy is currently unable to lift anything above ten pounds for about six weeks in risk of hernia. Murphy also has to be aware of her medication and food intake. 

“I can’t take aleve, ibuprofen, or other NSAIDS,” Murphy said. “Those medications make the kidneys work harder to process and since I now have one, Tylenol is my new best friend.”

Fortunately for Murphy, within the next two weeks she should be feeling good, and being fatigued will be the biggest issue.

With the fear of something going wrong in the surgical process, Murphy’s family was hesitant to agree with the huge commitment of donating a kidney, but eventually gave in because they knew it was the right thing to do.

“My family all know and love my friend’s son so it was hard for them to come right out and be against it,” Murphy said. 

Murphy’s case workers’, surgeon’s, and social workers’ goals were to keep her and the kidney recipient safe. Murphy explains that once she was all in, she agreed to any plan that would guarantee her friend’s son a healthy kidney. 

“I reiterated to many people on the transplant team that my only goal was for him to have a kidney,” Murphy said. “I was okay with a multiple swap as long as he received a healthy one.” 

Throughout this process, Murphy has saved the life of her friend’s son, and has been thoroughly educated on her procedure. Now that she is familiar with the process, she will be able to keep her body healthy while recovering. She finds it incredible how the body is capable of so many things.

“I was educated a lot on the procedure,” Murphy said. “My remaining kidney will grow over the next year to make up for the donated kidney. It’s pretty amazing what the human body will naturally do on its own.”