Clark man donates kidney to unknown recipient
November 16, 2023
Via Wyoming News Exchange
POWELL — He doesn’t know the recipient of his donated kidney, but a Park County man is satisfied that his gift will be life-sustaining to someone.
Ken Montgomery of Clark made a “non-directed” gift of his left kidney a month ago at Mayo Clinic of Arizona in Phoenix. A “non-directed” donation means that the donor has no connection to the recipient.
Motivated by friend in need
When Montgomery began the nearly year-long process of tests and screening to determine his eligibility as a donor, he was motivated by a friend’s need for a kidney. That friend was a former colleague at Persistent Systems, where Montgomery formerly worked.
“It was an easy decision for me,” he said. “The great news is that my friend received a new kidney earlier this year from a decedent and is doing well," Montgomery said. "I had the opportunity to withdraw from the program, but I decided I had gone this far and would proceed. So thanks to a human connection at a wonderful place I worked for seven years, someone out there will, I hope, be getting a second chance at life. That’s the power of the human connection.”
“And for me, this has given me a sense of purpose that is soul-filling,” Montgomery said. “I'm hoping by sharing my experience I can help raise awareness and also plant the idea in people’s minds and souls — if Ken can do it, anyone can do it.”
The kidney donation surgery took place on Oct. 10. It was an “almost outpatient” procedure, said Montgomery.
“One night in the hospital and then out,” he said.
Following surgery, Montgomery recuperated from the experience in sun country. He spent 10 days in Arizona and another 10 days in Palm Springs, California.
Donor, recipient both doing well
A month after surgery, Montgomery, 57, said that while he’s still a little sore, he feels great. And he has learned that the recipient is doing well.
“That was just terrific to hear,” he added.
Montgomery is global head of brand and engagement for Innominds, a technology company in India. A native of California, he now proudly proclaims that he is from Wyoming. He loves the lifestyle and the openness of Wyoming residents. He also lauds the work ethic. He has employed several Powell High School students on his Clark property.
Though his job is primarily in India, he gets to spend much of his time in Clark. He works three weeks in India, then has three weeks in Clark where he works from home. His “commute” from his office in India to his Clark ranch takes 29 hours.
Montgomery was a candidate for Park County Commissioner on the Republican ticket in the 2022 elections. In an eight-person primary race, he finished seventh in the race for the three GOP nominations but still garnered more than 1,000 votes.
He said after dipping his toe in the election process, he was humbled by the support he received and would consider running again for elective office.
One in a million
Statistics reveal that Montgomery is in a one-in-a-million group in the U.S. as an anonymous kidney donor.
Anne Haschke, media specialist for the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS), noted that living kidney donors saved the lives of nearly 5,900 patients suffering with end stage renal disease in the last year.
Only 371 of them, Montgomery included, donated without knowing who would receive their kidneys.
“These extraordinary acts of kindness are possible because one kidney will adapt to do the work of two shortly after donation,” she said.
There are currently 97 Wyoming residents waiting for an organ transplant. Just one deceased organ donor can save up to eight lives. Learn more about organ donation and transplant at unos.org.
This story was published on November 14, 2023.