An alum of the Wake Forest University School of Law, Chris Beechler (2001), is donating one of his kidneys to his friend and former professor, Dave Pishko, according to a story published by the school.
“It certainly surprised me,” Pishko said. “Not that it was Chris, but frankly, that there are people in the world who are that selfless … It’s just such an incredible gift.”
Beechler is the former chair of the NCBA’s Criminal Justice Section and a sole practitioner. Pishko works at the firm of Elliot Pishko Morgan and is a member of the Litigation Section as well as an adjunct professor at Wake Forest’s law school.
Pishko suffers from the hereditary disease called polycystic kidney disease. Pishko’s father suffered from the disease and he has known for quite some time that he could suffer from the disease as well, which would cause him to need a transplant.
“Some people can finish out their life, and it never totally destroys their kidneys,” said Pishko. “Statistically (kidney failure) happens when you’re in 60s, and that’s what I’ve been expecting.”
Pishko was told a couple of months back by his doctors that he needed to begin the search for a kidney donor. Beechler was told by Pishko at lunch not long ago about the situation.
“His reaction was, ‘I’ll give you one. I’ll get tested,’” Pishko said. “It stunned me. We’ve been friends for a long time. He didn’t hesitate. Chris can kid around, but he made sure I knew he was serious and that I didn’t have to ask.”
There were multiple rounds of tests performed and during the entire process, Beechler said he never thought about removing himself from the process. Beechler talked with his doctors, his family and other donors before he made his final decision.
“You don’t know what to say,” Pishko said. “There’s no good way to show your appreciation other than to go through with it and try to stay healthy.”
Pishko and his family were not only shocked and happy that a donor was found, but also how fast Beechler’s family supported the idea.
“I love him, and I think he walks on water,” said Alli Tomberlin, Beechler’s wife. “I’m a little nervous for him, but I can tell he’s ready. I feel like this is what we’re supposed to be doing.”
Surgery was scheduled immediately. “I asked my doctor 10 times if I really had to go through with this, and couldn’t it just get better on its own,” Pishko said. “He assured me that it wouldn’t and that I needed to do this.”
Beechler said, “Why not do this for a friend? When I thought about what it could provide for him, his family and the people he may touch in the future … it will cost me nothing more than time, inconvenience and some short-term pain.”