As I’ve thought about it, in some ways it might be easier to donate to a total stranger, than to an acquaintance. I don’t know the situation of the person who will get my kidney, or anything at all about their life. If they were an acquaintance, I might look at other people in their life, and ask, “Why aren’t they testing to be a donor?”
Or maybe I might be judgemental about health decisions they make; are they living a good lifestyle? If they aren’t making health choices I approve of, maybe I would be reluctant to give them a kidney. For example, if they don’t exercise, or they drink a lot, or they smoke, it might give me pause as to whether I want to donate to them. Would they care for my kidney the way I have cared for my body?
Or if I knew them, I might ask about the kind of life they are living. Are they a kind and loving person, who people will miss? Or are they a stingy, mean person that no one seems to care about? It would be hard to give a kidney to someone who was very unpleasant to be around.
But a life is a life. Doctors and nurses face this all the time. They have to set aside all personal prejudices or value judgements about the way a person is living, and just try to save them.
In some ways, not knowing the person, makes it easier to donate because it’s cleaner. It’s a life. What kind of life is it? I have no idea, and maybe that’s best. It’s a life, and that’s all I need to know.