Usually Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy is helping people as their elected official, but on Tuesday he helped a complete stranger in a very different way: He donated his own kidney.
"I can't express how proud I am; I really can't," said Quinn Mulroy, the commissioner's son. "It's just so wonderful his doing something like this."
The commissioner was an altruistic kidney donor, helping six other people receive transplants on Tuesday. By being an altruistic donor, Mulroy is helping unclog jams in the National Kidney Donor Registry when they cannot find simple matches and the altruistic donor does not ask for anything in return.
"You need a kidney, your brother's willing to donate but he's not a match," says Mulroy, "But there's this other person over here who needs a kidney and his sister is getting ready to donate but she's not a match for him. Well it turns out you can swap."
Doctors say this chain reaction Mulroy helped create will help 28 patients nationwide by the end of June.
Just two days after his surgery, Mulroy was up and joking around. When FOX 13 asked what he'd like to say to the recipient, he joked, "I'd first find out if they're a registered voter in Shelby County because I figure I've probably got that vote locked up."
On a more serious note, Mulroy says he did write a letter to the donor.
"I want to find out what their life was like and what they had been going through up until the point they got the kidney and hopefully now things have gotten better," he says.
The quick recovery is one reason why Mulroy encourages others to help the 80,000 people waiting on a kidney donation by signing up to be an altruistic donor.
"You're home in a couple of days, you have to rest for a few weeks but then after that you go back to your life as though it had never happened except that you will carry around the knowledge that you're saved one life if not more lives," says Mulroy.
He's already inspired his own children, Molly and Quinn Mulroy, to become donors in the future. Quinn says, "I would like to donate a kidney when I become old enough. I don't know how long that will be exactly but I think it's such a great thing to do."
If you are interested in becoming a donor, you can call 901-516-8466. Methodist University Hospital already has 20 people being evaluated for the National Kidney Registry, three of which are signing up to be altruistic donors.