MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — For Dan Dorty, music is his passion and he’s been playing the organ and piano for years.
“Music has just been my whole entire being,” Dorty said.
Until one day, it felt like a flashlight was shining in his eyes and he couldn’t read the notes. He went to the emergency room and doctors told him he was hemorrhaging in this eyes.
“I found out I was in renal failure and then April 1 of 2014, I started dialysis,” Dorty said.
His dialysis treatment lasted for the next seven years and both of his kidneys were removed at the beginning of 2020. During his illness, Dan managed to keep doing what he loved.
“Music was my escape through dialysis and it actually kept me going,” Dorty said.
Not only was music his outlet, but it was also what connected him to finding a kidney donor. Friends and family had been putting the word out that Dan was in need of a kidney. That’s when Liz Lobdell saw the post. The two were former classmates at Messiah University.
“We were in concert choir together and chamber singers and handbells so we were in a bunch of ensembles together and that’s how we met,” Lobdell said.
“After college, I would see Liz at alumni reunions and things and we were friends on Facebook, but we really didn’t keep in touch,” Dorty said.
Liz had been thinking about kidney donation before and saw this as her chance to change a life. The two went through the paired exchange program through UPMC Pinnacle.
“I give a kidney and then someone else gives him a kidney so really that day, we ended up saving two lives,” Lobdell said.
Dan and Liz underwent surgery on the same day at UPMC Pinnacle in Harrisburg. Liz says she would do it all over again.
“If I could grow another kidney and give it to somebody else, I totally would,” Lobdell said.
While the transplant surgery only lasted a few hours, it gave Dan a whole new life.
“It’s a gift that’s so selfless and so beyond one’s self that it really is a calling to do that and the fact that it was placed on her heart is a blessing in my life and a testament and inspiration to so many,” Dorty said.
For more information about UPMC’s Donate Life Campaign, click their Transplant Services page.