It was on a meditative trip to India in 2019 that Danny Crowley decided to explore the altruistic side of meditation practices. “I knew that they were really powerful, and that a lot of people had cultivated and developed that practice,” he says.
Upon returning to the U.S., Danny began reading about effective altruism, compassion and psychology. Having previously worked in a neuroscience lab, he was interested in neuroimaging and exploring how truly altruistic people were based on certain actions—specifically, living donors who donated kidneys. “My motivations were purely altruistic—I can help somebody,” Danny says about the idea of donating a kidney. “On the other hand, there was a realization and a hope for certain consequences around mental health.”
After making the decision to become a living kidney donor, Danny maintained a healthy lifestyle and attended doctor appointments throughout the year. “I sort of made all of those appointments a ritual of compassion and gratitude,” he says. “Often, we think about giving and we don’t think about sacrificing in order to give, and the power of letting go of some degree of comfort. When you’re getting blood drawn or doing any number of things, it can become this act of compassion—going beyond yourself and experiencing something that is beyond the constant hedonic treadmill of me and mine.”
Danny believes that any sort of donation, whether it is blood, an organ or monetary, can be an act of spiritual transcendence and a way to express oneself as part of the human experience. “Giving was a symbolic gesture of a north star where my life is headed,” he says.
Every 10 minutes, someone is added to the organ transplant waiting list.
Approximately 113,000 men, women, and children are waiting for life-saving organ transplants. One organ donor has the power to save up to eight lives and change the outcomes of someone’s world forever by giving them a second chance. Additionally, tissue donation can save and improve the lives of up to 75 people with their gifts. You can make a huge impact by registering as an organ and tissue donor.
Learn more about organ and tissue donation, or register as a donor at https://donatelifewisconsin.org.