Pennsylvania representative Brian Sims revealed that donated a kidney to a neighbour, and then he took the recipient and his husband out to dinner with his family. (Instagram/@briansimspa)
Democrat Brian Sims donated a kidney to a neighbour, and then he took the recipient and his husband out to dinner.
Sims, who is a Democrat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, was the first openly gay legislator to be elected in the state. The lawmaker and LGBT+ activist in a heartwarming series of social media posts on Thursday (13 May) that he had recently sat down to share a meal with his parents and a man to who he donated his kidney last year.
Sims posted on Twitter that his parents “came into town for the first time since my surgery last January”, and the group had dinner with the “recipient of my kidney and his husband”. He added: “Families come in all shapes and sizes. Ours is pretty special.”
Sims shared in a later tweet that he had also seen the recipient, Alan, and his husband, John, while he was “walking through the city to my office”. He described the two men as a “perfectly normal, healthy, happy couple sitting in the sun enjoying each other’s company”.
“It was perfection!” Sims wrote.
In a follow-up post on Facebook, Brian Sims wrote the men “held back tears” and “just tried to enjoy the ‘normalcy’ of days that are truly a gift”.
Sims, who is currently running for lieutenant governor, revealed in May 2020 that he had donated a kidney earlier in the year. He described how Alan lived only 10 blocks away from him, and Sims “turned out to be a near-perfect match”. Sims said he spent “several days in the hospital” and a friend before returning home.
He explained Alan “began to improve almost immediately and his long term prognosis is strong”. Sims said the donation was never “supposed to be public” because “people are cynical, especially about politics”.
“And so I decided to share the donation with only my friends, staff and family,” he wrote.
Since going public about the donation, Brian Sims has encouraged others to consider becoming living donors. He posted a video in January where shared that the donation “changed both of our lives”, and he wanted to inspire others to “change more lives”.
Sims explained that COVID-19 had slowed down “organ donor registration”, “making the need to register [as a donor] more important than ever”.
In a tweet on Friday (14 May), he explained: “One person donating can save up to 8 lives & living donors have a special opportunity to extend the lives of their loved ones and neighbors!”