Being a PSU Alumni Can Save Your Life
Author: Geography Department
Posted: March 12, 2014

Ray Hennings, a student at Portland State University, completed his GIS Certificate and is currently working on finishing his Master’s degree in Geography. Ray also has Polycystic Kidney Disease. He had been on dialysis for 18 months and was waiting for a new kidney when he met Kendal.

“I met Ray and his wife Lori last August at a party hosted by a mutual friend. I discovered that both he and his wife had gone to PSU and that Ray and I shared common interests in geology, geography and GIS. Toward the end of our conversation, Lori mentioned that Ray had gone to dialysis that morning. I knew dialysis treatments were unpleasant and that if I were in need of a kidney, I would be asking everyone I knew to donate. I knew before I left the party that I would begin the process to see if we were a match”

Ray is an avid bicyclist and worked unceasingly to stay fit, and be ready for transplant surgery at any moment. Even with dialysis treatments three times a week, he participated in a three day, 220 mile ride in South Carolina that raised a million dollars for the Kidney Trust.

Kendal and her husband have served on the PSU Alumni Board of Directors for many years, so the decision to help a fellow PSU alumni was easy.  After several tests, it turned out she was an acceptable match. The transplant surgery in January was thankfully uneventful. The first two weeks of Kendal’s recovery consisted of some minor discomfort and a lot of naps. She was back to work full-time after 3 weeks. Ray is doing great, getting stronger daily, and making regular visits to the Geography Department. He is eagerly awaiting the doctor’s green light so he can plan his first bike ride with his new kidney!

“I am extremely grateful to Kendal for her extraordinary gift,” says Ray, “and I just wish her halo would show up better in the photo!”

Kendal says “having gone through the whole process, I don’t understand why kidney donations from live donors are not more common. There are so many people waiting for surgery that can drastically transform their lives. And since the Rose City Rollers apparently aren’t going to call me to join their squad, there wasn’t a down side to my donation of a spare kidney.  It was really a case of what you would want someone to do for you, if it was you that needed the help.”


Click on the links below to find out more about Ray's story, or becoming a donor, go to
Donate Life NW (
The Kidney Trust (

And, last but not least, always remember to check "donor" on your driver's license!