Tuesday, March 4, 2008

greater love has no man than this: that he gives away a kidney to a stranger

Again, from Laura Meckler in the WSJ, on a particular Christian group whose ministries include giving away vital organs...

Ashwyn Falkingham wanted to donate one of his kidneys but didn't know anyone who needed one. With the help of a Web site, he met a woman in Toronto who was seeking a transplant. The two were a medical match, and he traveled from his home in Sydney, Australia, to Canada for final testing and, he hoped, for the surgery.

It's a "simple thing that can help someone," says Mr. Falkingham, now 23 years old.

But it wasn't simple, largely because Mr. Falkingham is a member of a tiny religious group calling itself the Jesus Christians. The group's 30 members, who eschew many of society's conventions, have embraced kidney donation: More than half have given a kidney.

They describe the act as a gift of love that implements Jesus's teachings. But critics, particularly parents of members, call the group a cult and charge that members are under undue influence of its charismatic leader....

The group courts publicity. Members have cooperated with producers of TV documentaries done in Australia and England. Last year, at the Transplant Games for donors and recipients, several Jesus Christians participated, wearing red, Jesus Christian T-shirts.

Mr. McKay said he became interested in living kidney donation after watching "A Gift of Love," the 1999 movie about a high-school kid who donates a kidney to his grandmother. Mr. McKay preaches the value of donation to his group, and Mr. McKay has given a kidney himself....


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