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‘Absolutely worth it’

Jackson, MI, Letter Carrier Martha Olsen

Jackson, MI, Letter Carrier Martha Olsen likens her good health to winning the lottery.

So when she learned of a fellow Michigander named Dan who was searching for a kidney donor last year, Olsen decided she wanted to share the wealth.

The Postal Service employee didn’t know Dan, but she was moved by his social media post.

“I was touched by his story, as we have the same number of children,” Olsen said. “I didn’t realize you don’t have to be family member to donate, so I tested to see if I was a match.”

It turned out Olsen was a perfect match — but not for Dan. Instead, she was paired with Debra, an elementary school teacher from Texas.

In April, transplant surgeries were successfully performed for both Debra and Dan, who had been matched with another living donor.

Olsen’s actions resonated especially with local Officer in Charge Melissa Tackett-Warner, who knows firsthand the difference transplantation can make. Her husband received a kidney from a living donor a decade ago.

“Just that she was willing to do that for a complete stranger, how selfless is that?” Tackett-Warner told the Jackson Citizen Patriot.

“Big things often start off small,” Olsen said, describing how a social media post led her to make a phone call, which started a donation journey that’s inspiring others to follow in her footsteps.

Speaking of footsteps, just four weeks after the procedure, Olsen returned to a favorite pastime: running. She plans to complete two half marathons this fall, and a full marathon in March.

“I can’t even tell I had surgery,” she said, adding that being a kidney donor is “absolutely worth it.”

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