‘I Don’t Want Anyone To Suffer’: Utah Woman Donates Kidney To Complete Stranger

Apr 4, 2019, 5:36 PM | Updated: Apr 11, 2019, 9:52 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — This week kicks off Transplant Awareness Month. Finding an organ donor with the right match isn’t always easy, but there is a growing need — especially in Utah.

Most people have two kidneys, but among a tight-knit group of five people, the kidney count totals to not 10 — but six.

They’ve each been affected by a kidney transplant in one way or another.

Eric Orwin, 26, is one of them.

“I had a birth defect when I was born, so my kidneys would never fully functioning,” Orwin said. “I started having problems when I was 21 and got told I couldn’t work anymore because that all the toxins in my body.”

He’s been on dialysis for more than three years.

“You go to sit in a chair for four hours, three times a week,” he explained.

Each of these five people have been affected through by a kidney transplant.

Each of these five people have been affected through by a kidney transplant.

Orwin said the treatment was physically and mentally exhausting.

“I started getting depressed, and my wife decided she was going to help out,” he said.

His wife, Mayra Orwin, created a flyer seeking a kidney donor for her husband. She plastered the flyer all over her community and even online.

That’s how 31-year-old Amber Taylor happened to see Eric Orwin’s flyer on a neighborhood Facebook page. She was inspired to step up to the plate after watching her own boss, Laurie Meachem, receive a kidney transplant. Meacham got her kidney from her sister.

“It was amazing to me that she was willing to change somebody’s life that she hadn’t even met,” Meacham said. “I couldn’t even think about that without crying.”

Taylor said giving is just part of her DNA, even to a stranger.

“I can’t say no … I don’t want anyone to suffer ever,” she explained.

Eric Orwin was elated by the news. “When I found out that she was actually willing to donate, I was so happy. It changed my whole mood. I was super excited knowing that I was finally getting a second chance at life.”

When Eric Orwin first met her, he said he praised Taylor for saving his life even though she wasn’t getting much out of it.

Taylor is married and the mother of two kids, but she felt the surgery was still worth the inconvenience and time away from her family.

“It could change someone else’s life permanently and forever… It’s just the right thing to do,” she said.

The transplant was successful, and now Taylor and the Orwins joke that she will always be part of Eric Orwin.

“I feel like we’re family now,” Taylor said.

Amber Taylor was inspired to donate her kidney after watching her boss receive a transplant from her sister.

Amber Taylor was inspired to donate her kidney after watching her boss receive a transplant from her sister.

Intermountain Healthcare’s Jerold Wilcox, the kidney transplant nurse coordinator at Intermountain Medical Center, said there is a growing need for donors of all types. He said there are about 800 people in Utah waiting for an organ transplant and 600 people waiting for kidney transplants.

He said the average Utahn typically waits about two to three years before receiving a transplant, although he said that time-frame can be shortened if the transplant is from a living donor.

Wilcox said new research shows about 18 people die every day nationwide waiting for a transplant.

He said 100,000 people start dialysis nationwide every year and sadly, one in four will likely die within that year.

Wilcox said without dialysis, kidney failure can be extremely fatal.

“It helps people live a fuller, richer life where they wouldn’t have before,” he said.

Wilcox knows the importance of it first hand. He is a kidney transplant recipient himself.

“My life was saved because of someone who was willing to donate,” Wilcox said.

He said your body only needs one kidney to function. Taylor said she was comforted by this thought while making her decision.

“The one I have left kind of picks up the slack. It increases what it can do,” she explained.

Taylor said her sacrifice was worth it.

“One of the greatest experiences of my life outside of becoming a mother,” she said.

Eric Orwin has found new hope for his future. He said he is “wanting kids, wanting a house, wanting everything — the dream. So that’s what I’m going to work towards once I get better.”

If you are interested in becoming a donor, visit 

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Your Life Your Health

Dennis Cecchini talks about the overdose death of his son, Tennyson. (Ken Fall/KSL TV)...
Annie Knox, KSL TV

The overdose-reducing drug doctors say more of us should have on hand

It can fit in your pocket and save a life. After overdose deaths from opioids climbed during the pandemic, medical workers and advocates are spreading the word about naloxone.
9 days ago
Mother offers her advice for keeping her kids active at the park in the summer....
Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Ways to keep your kids active during the summer break

With Utah's weather so nice this time of year, you would think getting kids to be active would be a slam dunk. But it can be a tall order given the draw of smartphones, tablets, and video games.
17 days ago
Watermelon pizza - Skip the sugary snacks this summer and make fruit the star of the show with thes...
Cindy St. Clair, KSL TV

Make fruit the star of summer snack time

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Between the BBQs, road trips, and busy schedules, summer can be a tough time to get healthy snacks into your kids. For Intermountain Healthcare’s corporate executive chef, Alex Govern, a little bit of sugar goes a long way in helping his kids eat healthy. “We don’t say no to sugars,” […]
24 days ago
Ken Fall, KSL TV

With warm weather arriving, keep your kids safe from window falls

It’s that time of year when windows are flying open to let in some fresh air. But it’s also when open windows and unsafe screens present a serious danger to little kids.
1 month ago
Ken Fall, KSL TV

Why Utahns are at higher risk for deadly skin cancer

Utah has the unfortunate distinction of having the highest rate of melanoma in the nation—a rate more than double the national average. Regular screenings can save lives.
1 month ago
A mobile team with the Salt Lake County Health Department administers COVID-19 vaccines at Rancho M...
Ken Fall, KSL TV

Are you over 50 or heading out of town? Get a 2nd COVID-19 booster, Utah doctor says

With COVID-19 rates rising in Utah and throughout most of the country, public health officials are most concerned about people over 50 and the immunocompromised. 
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
‘I Don’t Want Anyone To Suffer’: Utah Woman Donates Kidney To Complete Stranger