Kate Clarkson from Northumberland (in North East England) is a Humanist and did something worthy of that word: She donated a kidney to a complete stranger:
In October 2010, the humanist celebrant, who has performed weddings and funerals for 20 years, was asked to speak at a commemoration service for transplant patients and their families.
“I’ve been a nurse for 40 years and I thought I was hardened to these sorts of things, but this service was the most heart-rending experience that I’ve ever had,” said Mrs Clarkson, a health visitor with County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.
“Listening to those people who had lost relatives or who were waiting for organs to save their lives was unbelievably moving.
“I had been reading about becoming a living donor and I was so moved that day that I decided if I could help, I would. I just thought ‘I’ve got a spare kidney that I don’t even need and people are dying every single day waiting for one.’ So if it was possible, I was going to do it.”
She doesn’t know the identity of the man who just received one of her kidneys — and whose life she just saved — but he thanked her by making a donation to a charity of her choosing.
Clarkson is encouraging everyone to become organ donors. I’m proud to say I am on that list in my state (though I’m not a “living donor” right now):
Mrs Clarkson said: “Becoming a living donor is not for everyone. I wouldn’t pressure anyone into it, but if you are thinking about it, go ahead, and I honestly don’t feel any different.
“I can’t think of any justification at all for not donating your organs when you are dead and it’s so easy to do.”
She is absolutely right. As atheists, we know better than to believe in an afterlife. You won’t need your organs after you die, so leave them for other people so that they may lead longer, healthier lives. There’s no good reason not to do it — unless you’re donating your entire body elsewhere — and it’s a kind, generous, and easy way to show your Humanism.
We’re all connected through evolution and giving someone else a body part you no longer need is just one of the benefits of that fact.