Costco Worker Gets New Kidney from Friend

January 15th, 2015 · 1 Comment

There’s been a lot of things going on in the world lately that point out how horrible people can be to each other, so I thought I should try to share some news that demonstrates how wonderful people can be instead.

A few months ago, Vance Westerberg, a Costco worker in Portland, Oregon (4849 NE 138th Ave, Portland, OR 97230) got some really bad news: he was very sick and going to need a new kidney.  So he started on dialysis which can be a horrible process lasting for four hours at a time and must be carried out three times per week.  In addition to the dialysis he was still working at Costco full time.  It is amazing to me that you could keep working during something like that.  One of his co-worker’s husband, Michael Tierney, had become his friend after meeting him through Costco several years ago and luckily Mr. Tierney wanted to find some way to help.  Mr. Tierney found the very best way to help through being tested to be a live kidney donor for Mr. Westerberg and  was able to give him the greatest possible gift when it was determined that he was a match.  Mr. Tierney said he wanted to find a way to help extend the life of his friend for his family, and I’d say he definitely did it, while giving them all a Christmas gift that they won’t forget.

The surgery took place on January 5, 2015 and went well with both men recovering faster than expected even.  Mr. Tierney must be the most incredible friend ever because when Costco management offered him and his family a trip, he declined the offer in favour of letting Mr. Westerberg and his family have the much needed holiday instead.  I’d like to think that Costco ended up giving both men and their families a relaxing holiday since I’m sure they could both use the vacation.

That kind of selflessness is so amazing and really touching.  It’s great to read things like this and be reminded of just how compassionate people can be, even when it isn’t the easiest thing for them to do.  Becoming a living donor is a very hard decision and definitely needs to be well considered.  Mostly this is done for a close relative or friend, but you can also be an non-directed/altruistic donor, meaning that you would donate a kidney or liver to an anonymous candidate on the transplant list.  The American Transplant Foundation has a great website for information on becoming a living donor with all of the necessary steps and considerations.  Even if you cannot become a living donor, you could considering registering to donate your organs after death.  You can find your state’s registry at

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1 Response so far ↓

  1. 1 Michael H // 2015.01.17 at 12:13 am

    CNBC is running their 1 hour special about Costco. Seen it before but glad I am watching it again…just learned about your site.

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