A boxer willing, for the sake of a perfect stranger, to fight with one kidney. What gets into people?
What would make Dr. Julian Lopez of Las Vegas call his dying buddy, Chicago White Sox owner Eddie Einhorn, out of nowhere
last year and insist he take his kidney? "We're going to find out if chiles rellenos," the Albuquerque-born Lopez said, "go with bagels and lox."
They do. Today Einhorn, 67, feels 25 years younger. Come to think of it, so does Lopez. "I've learned a lot about what being a friend is," Lopez says. "It's more than just trading jokes and slamming cold ones. For me, Eddie was a golden opportunity to improve somebody else's life, and I just couldn't pass it up."
So what is Einhorn supposed to give as a thank you- Frank Thomas? "I got my friend back," says Lopez. "That's enough."
Something in all this bugs some people. David Garner's mother waited on the list 11 years before she got a kidney, then died when her body rejected it. "Where were all these people for my mom?" Garner says. "I don't care if you're a famous athlete or not, you should have to be on the waiting list just like everyone else. Is the life of an athlete worth more than the life of another person? I don't think it is."
Mourning will not affect the list, according to his nephrologist, Dr. Gerald Appel, because he'll almost certainly find a donor among his relatives and friends. "And then, I'm sure Alonzo will get up in front of the world," says Appel, "and say, 'Please, all of you who were willing to donate your kidney to me, donate it to someone else.' "
In truth, Mourning's fame won't just save his life, it'll save hundreds of lives.
My 25-year-old nephew, Reilly Capps, who writes for The Washington Post, wants to save one, too. He came home to Denver on Thanksgiving and announced he was going to donate his kidney to the next person on the list. And this time it wasn't just a mom wringing her hands-it was all of us.
But...but...but what about the way you ski? Going off cliffs and between trees? "I'll wear a kidney belt," he said with a shrug.
But...but...but what if your sister or brother needs your kidney later? "I'll hope somebody else will step up and help," he said, "just like I'm doing now."