They are often unseen contributors to our work. However, we would not have been able to heal the number of patients we have without our stool donors. We greatly appreciate them for sharing their stories, and more importantly, their stool samples!
John is one of our longest standing, loyal donors. He was kind enough to share his story in this video.
David & Hanna
We are David and Hanna and we became donors for the IMT program in 2016. David was starting a graduate program in biochemistry and Hanna was starting her first year of medical school. Hanna heard about the program through a lecture during medical school. With several family members who suffer from gastrointestinal conditions and our passion for scientific discovery, we couldn’t pass up applying to be donors. A few emails, blood tests, and interviews later and we were both invited to participate in the program! The best parts of the program were getting to know the staff, reading letters of hope and healing from donors, and all the funny situations along the way. Our friends in graduate and medical school often wondered why we would disappear for 20 minutes at random parts of the day. Once someone asked Hanna, “Who is the “IMT” mystery person saved as a “favorite” in your phone?” Eventually, we shared with family and friends where we were going for 20 minutes randomly during the day. Everyone we told was very interested in learning more. Other funny moments were when we thought we “had to go”, but upon arrival at the donation center, couldn’t seem to produce a donation…this was always a bit embarrassing. IMT is an incredible program filled with wonderful people. We are very thankful that we had the chance to be a part of it.
This husband and wife team has healthy gut microbes in common.
Martha made lifestyle changes to be able to provide the best quality material.
Hello, my name is Martha. In 2017, my dad who’s an infectious disease doctor sent me an article about a company in Boston that was “banking stools” and said that his son who lived in Boston could get paid to poop. I was intrigued and jealous of my brother. Later I received a must-read book from my father all about microbiomes. Fast forward to 2019 and a friend shared that he was a donor at UMN’s IMT program, so I immediately signed up.
I am a big fan of the IMT program at UMN for several reasons. Most importantly, I am pleased to share my healthy gut microbes with those who need it most and to help advance research. When I meet new people or catch up with old friends, my participation at the donation station makes for a great conversation starter and creates an open platform for informative discussion and some good jokes. Plus, I think it’s critical to share with others about the importance of IMT. Most people I talk to about it have never heard of it.
Being a donor has been a wonderful experience. The screening process (initial and ongoing) was succinct but in-depth, non-invasive and educational, and somewhat similar to when you give blood but with a few different questions. Every time I donate, I walk out with a smile knowing my bodily waste is in fact not waste and instead is helping someone else. Most times I donate, I can’t help but laugh a little, too. The staff at the donation station talk about needing a certain amount of “material” in order for it to be sufficient for both testing and creating “product.” Another perk of the experience is not many people can say they get paid to go #2. Finally, I’ve learned more about my gut bacteria, and I’ve shifted to eating more healthy foods (I know what makes me go) and exercising more, so that I can provide the highest quality and quantity of material possible to help save lives and further research.