“My pillow is my badge of honor.”

After 31 years of working in the corporate world, Skip Sturtz decided it was time to pay his success forward and pursue his calling to save a life as a living kidney donor. Here’s his story.

Skip’s Story

Skip Sturtz is what some would call a jack of all trades, and what others call, a hero. After a long career in the corporate world, Skip pursued his calling to save a life as a living kidney donor. Moving from success in his career and paying it forward with a purpose. In November 2018, he donated one of his kidneys at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota where he received a kidney pillow after surgery. His donation was altruistic. He never met the recipient of his kidney, he only knows that she is a mother of four with six grandchildren.

Before pursuing his calling to save a life, Skip embarked on a new adventure. After Skip took his first (and last) college art class, he realized the amount of talent he possessed. However, it simply wasn’t his time. He decided to venture out into the corporate world. But his love for drawing never waned, although surfacing from time to time disguised as a PowerPoint presentation, spreadsheet, or meticulously painted bathroom. To put it simply, Skip has always been drawn to draw.

In 2014, Skip founded his own business, Inc2Ink., and for the past 6 years has been living life as a professional artist, specializing in original pen and ink drawings. When Skip’s not creating detailed works of art, he’s training for marathons. After donating his kidney, he trained and completed his 22nd marathon in the fall of 2019 and will compete in the Boston Marathon in April 2020.

“The dusty awards and plaques from my work career mean little to me anymore. The life fulfilling and unexpected donor and recipient community provides daily joy now.”

His Therapeutic Pillow

Skip’s Kidney Pillow is his badge of honor. The therapeutic pillow lies on the floor of his art studio and whenever he feels a bit sleepy, it’s there waiting for him to hold tight. When he isn’t using his pillow, his Coton de Tulear, Molly, enjoys playing with it too!

Skip’s Advice to Others

In 2014, Skip decided he might want to donate a kidney, but had no idea what it might entail. “All I knew is that a work friend had donated to his son years earlier. It seemed like a huge risk, but who wouldn’t donate a kidney to save their child. It stuck with me and every once and a while I’d hear another donor story, and another, and another.”

So when he retired from the corporate world, he started to study the science behind donating and what it would entail. The first thing he learned was that two healthy kidneys are only called upon by your body to function less than half of their capability. “Share your spare” actually means it’s okay. “You truly only need one.”

Through his research, he learned that recipients who receive a living donor kidney have significantly better chances of success and longevity. Donors do not lessen their life own expectancy. Statistically, they even live longer because of healthier life choices. “Trust the science. Be comfortable with your decision.”

Take-away Message

“I’m blessed with good health and want to be a living example of what one human being can do for another.”

We are honored that our therapeutic pillow plays a part in this incredible story and serves as Skip’s badge of honor. Therapeutic pillows not only aid in recovery but are a symbol for your patients’ courage and strength. Give your patients something they’ll remember.