The Gift of Life: ProviNET Employee Donates Kidney to His Mother

Mark Peters has worked at ProviNET Solutions for 10 years, currently as a Field Tech Lead. His job centers around problem-solving, and he is known for tenaciously finding answers. “When I have a goal,” he says, “I just put my blinders on and focus. I know what I want to achieve and I don’t let anything distract me.”

That same mentality was why, almost 15 years ago, he accepted an IT position in Iraq and then in Afghanistan as part of a contract with the U.S. Military. “It wasn’t the kind of job I would have ever considered, but it was the best three years of my life,” he says. “I didn’t think twice about accepting the job offer.”

Fast forward to August 2, 2023, and Mark is lying on a hospital gurney at Loyola Hospital, about to go into surgery so he can donate his kidney to his mother, Sandra Peters.

My blood type makes me a universal donor,” he says. “I was an ideal candidate, and this is my mom. Of course I’m going to do it, no hesitation.”

Sandra had struggled with various health issues over the past two decades, including three bouts with cancer, thyroid disease, and heart problems. Doctors then noticed her kidneys weren’t functioning properly, and as time progressed, things just got worse. The doctors mentioned a transplant.

 

My mom never asked me to donate my kidney,” Mark says. “She was hesitant to even accept my offer. She didn’t want me to live with the long-term risk.” But Mark put his blinders on. He was determined to help.

Truly, any organ donation includes risk, but a living organ donation is generally more successful and long-lasting than a cadaver transplant. “The organ usually functions immediately and lasts longer because there’s such a short period of time it spends outside the body between people,” Mark explains. According to the National Kidney Foundation, a kidney from a living donor lasts an average of 15 to 20 years, whereas a deceased donor kidney lasts an average of 8 years.

Unfortunately, simply having a willing donor like Mark wasn’t enough. “One hospital refused to do the surgery because of my mom’s history of cancer,” he says. “But Loyola did our screening and decided that we were great candidates. I can’t speak highly enough of them.”

During the entire process, Mark says he was never afraid. Rather, he was hopeful that his kidney could help give his mom the better quality of life he knows she deserves.

“There was never anything for me to fear,” Mark says. “She needed a kidney. I had a kidney. And I would do it again, for anyone.”

Mark was back home three days after his surgery, and then back to work three weeks after that. He says his ProviNET work family was supportive and helpful every step of the way.

As for Sandra, the kidney donation has certainly made a difference. While she is still dealing with various health problems, she no longer needs dialysis and she is slowly making positive progress.

Mark says he can live a normal life. “No worries for me,” he says. “I just have to pay attention to risk factors for kidney failure—high cholesterol and high blood pressure. But we should all be keeping an eye on that.”

Mark’s generous spirit hasn’t been dampened by the loss of his kidney; if anything, he’s more committed than ever to giving.

If I could and I needed to, I would donate again,” he says. “I’d be the first in line.”


Mark knows that medical procedures can be scary for many people, but he encourages everyone to consider being an organ donor, even just donating organs after death. “You can save so many lives,” he says. “There’s no reason not to.”

Mark knows that medical procedures can be scary for many people, but he encourages everyone to consider being an organ donor, even just donating organs after death. “You can save so many lives,” he says. “There’s no reason not to.”

This article was originally published on the Providence Life Services website.