It was June of 1987 when Levittown native and Feasterville resident Krista Doran, age 21 at the time, was diagnosed with lupus, an inflammatory disease caused when the immune system attacks its own tissues. By August of that year, the disease had ravaged Doran’s kidneys and she was on dialysis.
“I was hardly sick in my life,” said Doran. “I was my mom’s healthiest kid. It just ‘boom’ happened. Nobody could explain it.”
Over the years, Doran has undergone three kidney transplants. The first two lasted five and 23 years, respectively. In 2018, when it came time to receive a new organ from a donor, something special happened.
After missing out on a few kidneys because someone else was a better match, and after turning down a few herself because the circumstances surrounding the donors’ deaths were strange, Doran got a call on her birthday, Oct. 26. Doran was told she’d be a possible match for the kidney of a male, who was recently killed in a motorcycle accident in York. Though Doran wasn’t given a name, this didn’t stop her from finding it.
“The inquisitive person that I am just Googled ‘motorcycle accident, 49-year-old male, York, Pennsylvania’ and it came right up,” she said, adding that she also did some investigating on Facebook. “I saw his face. I knew what he looked like. And I guess because it was on my birthday, this one I felt so good about. I just knew this was the one.”
Doran received the kidney of Michael March, whose life was cut short on Oct. 25 doing what he loved best – riding his motorcycle – by a driver making an illegal turn. Following a successful transplant, Doran regularly revisited March’s Facebook page, the man who unknowingly gave her a second chance at life because his ended. One day, Doran noticed something she hadn’t before – she and March have a mutual friend named Walt. Doran quickly contacted Walt, who told her all about March, including his book 2Fast4U, which chronicles the biking and fast car adventures of his younger years.
“It was like a Dukes of Hazzard movie or something like that,” said Doran with a laugh.
Through Walt, Doran was introduced to another friend of March’s, who ran an annual benefit in his name. In September 2020, Doran, along with her family, friends and classic rock band Stems and Seeds, attended the event in York.
This year, Doran is helping March’s loved ones continue the tradition by hosting the 3rd Annual Bike Run and Benefit for Michael March at Stars & Stripes Harley-Davidson, 600 S. Flowers Mill Road in Langhorne, on Oct. 2, from 1 to 8 p.m. Registration for a police-escorted motorcycle ride begins at 1 p.m., with kickstands up at 2 p.m. Once back at around 4:30 p.m., bikers can enjoy lunch from King George II Inn and other local restaurants; beer from Naked Brewery, Broken Goblet and Odd Logic; and a premium swag bag, which includes a T-shirt. Tickets are $35 in advance ($10 per passenger) and $40 at the door.
The benefit is from 4 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. This includes free beer, a swag bag and live entertainment from Mike Estabrook, Tim Fitzpatrick, and Stems and Seeds. Food trucks will be on site. On display will be the Traveling Memorial Wall for Fallen Bikers, which has March’s name inscribed on it. Anyone coming to the event can have a loved one added to the wall for free. Additionally, there will be basket raffles, 50/50 and a kickstart simulator.
Proceeds benefit two of March’s favorite charities – SPCA and Ronald McDonald House Charities – and Gift of Life Donor Program, which Doran is passionate about.
“From what they told me, he was always getting involved in fundraisers, bike runs, things for the fire department,” she said. “He was just an overall great guy.”
While on the verge of tears, Doran expressed gratitude to her community for donating their time, food and drinks, and helping to organize the benefit.
“You see so much on the news that’s so troubling, and you think this country is so divided,” she said. “But you look at your neighbors and the people around you and they’re always so willing to help.”
In addition to raising money in March’s name, Doran hopes the event raises awareness about the importance of organ donation.
“I really would like to get the word out about how important it is to donate your body. You’re not gonna need it. You’re gonna be in a box with worms eating you,” she said. “There are so many misconceptions. People think that if you’re dying on the side of the road and they think you’re not gonna make it, they’re not gonna try to help you. There are so many myths. It’s not true.”
For the first time since her lupus diagnosis, now at the age of 56, Doran feels great. She dropped weight, has glowing skin, has a healthy appetite, and can hit notes on stage she hasn’t been able to reach in decades.
“Life is just really good. As sappy as it may sound, I owe it all to Michael. For whatever reason, his kidney was such a great match for me. I believe in a higher power and I believe that we’ve all known each other prior to this,” she said. “We must’ve made that deal somewhere along the way.”
Those interested in attending the 3rd Annual Bike Run and Benefit for Michael March are urged to buy tickets in advance. Tickets can be purchased via Venmo @jane-coy-2 (phone code 6969). Updates and more information can be found on the Facebook event page at facebook.com/events/3149743265237486/.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org