SELINSGROVE — A National Guard veteran from Selinsgrove is taking the word “sacrifice” to a whole new level.
After a recent tour of duty in Kuwait, she decided she wanted to give back, and on Tuesday, she will literally give a piece of herself to a complete stranger.
During a tour of duty in Kuwait last year, Krystina Parks of Selinsgrove says she had a lot of time to think about what she could do to give back to others. Since the former specialist in the Army National Guard is healthy, she decided to donate one of her kidneys.
“I looked into it a little bit further and just decided that’s something I would really like to do,” Parks said.
Krystina started the organ donation process last October.
“There’s a lot of blood tests involved. EKGs, cat scans, x-rays, it can be a little exhausting at times.”
And talk about short notice, Parks just found out Friday she’d be donating her kidney four days later.
“Friday morning she walked into the bedroom where I was sleeping. I woke right up. She goes, ‘I got the news, it’s a go!’” said Krystina’s mother Bonnie Garnett.
Krystina’s family says they were nervous when she first suggested donating a kidney but they are proud and support her decision.
“She is just so generous. She gives to everybody and anybody but does not want or expect anything in return,” said Krystina’s stepmother Janice Parks.
“She’s very passionate about it,” Garnett added. “She wants to, she needs to help people. It’s her thing. I think that’s what she was put here to do.”
Krystina says she knows nothing about the person who will get her kidney except that they are in desperate need.
“That has got to be an amazingly strong person to be dealing with that for months. Some of them have been dealing with it for years. I can’t fathom being in that position.”
Krystina’s surgery will be done in Philadelphia. Her doctors expect her recovery to take between six and eight weeks. After that, she says she would like to go back to school and study social services.