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Kidney transplant had ‘domino effect’ on this author

IU Health University Hospital

Kidney transplant had ‘domino effect’ on this author

He received a kidney from a stranger, and now this Brownsburg resident is writing about how one person can change a life.

By TJ Banes, IU Health Senior Journalist,

The way Gary Sinclair sees it, “Anyone can impact the life of just one person by listening, helping, encouraging and giving wisdom.”

There’s another way he’s been impacted - through the gift of life given by a stranger. That stranger was Annette Brown. On Dec. 14, 2022, Brown donated her kidney to Sinclair. The two were in the care of IU Health’s Dr. Chandru Sundaram and Dr. William Goggins.

Sinclair’s story started nearly 20 years ago when he began suffering kidney disease. Now, that story has become his inspiration for a book, “Finding Dominoes: Changing Your World One Encounter At A Time.” He recently presented copies of his book to his IU Health transplant team including his surgeon, Dr. Goggins.

Gary and Dr. Goggins

Sinclair’s kidney transplant journey began with family. When there were no available matches for transplant, Sinclair and his wife, Jackie, who live in Brownsburg, Ind. turned to social media. By coincidence, one of the people who saw his post was Annette Brown, also a Brownsburg resident. Brown’s mother received a kidney transplant from a family donor and she felt motivated to give back.

Living donors undergo an initial screening, multiple tests and evaluations.

Living kidney donors reduce or eliminate the need for patients to start dialysis and a healthy kidney from a living donor can function better and last longer than a kidney from a deceased donor. A living kidney donor isn’t necessarily related to the recipient. Compatibility is based on blood type and tissue typing. Age and size are also taken into consideration.

Brown was a near-perfect match and was able to donate the gift of life to Sinclair. “I received a gift worth millions that I plan to take care of and always be grateful for.”

Reflecting on that life-altering event resulted in writing a book - one of several motivational publications.

The writing is described like this: “This is a book about making a difference. And yet many of us don't think what we do matters that much to others . . . And when we think of impact in the world or universe we might be right. But what if we thought about touching one person at a time? Kind of like knocking over that first domino in a huge display of thousands set up by some creative designers. One touch using that illustration implies that we could ultimately impact hundreds, even thousands, through that one encounter.”

Gary and iu health staff

With improved health, Sinclair reflects on his transplant with immense gratitude. He dedicated the book to his donor and the IU Health staff saying: “The IU Health Medical team without question helped touched lives that can help touch other lives - from the surgeons to nursing/care teams and the followup personnel we continue to see.”

Sinclair and his wife have been married since 1976. They have two grown children, and six grandsons. He was also chosen "Father Figure of the Year" in Illinois in 2001. He loves to write and speak about overcoming in family, leadership, finances, other relationships and work.

He has climbed nine “14er’s" in Colorado and hiked with his wife in Alaska, Austria, Switzerland and the Canadian Rockies. He said mountains have become a place filled with practical help and insight about life and all its challenges.

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