Kidney Transplant Centers across the country are trying to find new and creative ways to cut the exceedingly long and growing wait times for Chronic Kidney Disease patients in need of a Kidney Transplant. In fact, according to the American Transplant Foundation, "Another name is added to the national transplant waiting list every 10 minutes." The approximately 102,000 patients in need of a Kidney Transplant account for the vast majority of the 110,000 individuals on the Organ Transplant Waiting List. Well, Kidney Transplant Coupons/Vouchers may be a step in the right direction to cut wait times and provide more Chronic Kidney Disease patients with transplants.
Started at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), the Kidney Transplant Coupons/Vouchers program allows for Living Kidney Donors to donate a kidney in advance of when a friend or family member might require a kidney transplant. Sometimes, a Chronic Kidney Disease or Dialysis patient may be heading toward needing a Kidney Transplant in the coming years, but it would be more convenient for a friend, family member or Altruistic (Generous) Living Kidney Donor to donate a kidney sooner. Well, the Kidney Coupon/Voucher Program works similar to that of a gift card, "A friend or family member could donate a kidney now, before a major anticipated life event — such as traveling, changing employment or getting married — and their intended recipient who is nearing Dialysis would receive a gift certificate to redeem for transplantation when needed," said Dr. Jeffrey Veale (UCLA Transplant Surgeon).
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The idea stemmed from an Orange County, California Judge, Howard Broadman, who wanted to donate a kidney to his grandson, Quinn. At the time, Broadman was 64 (now 66 years old) and his grandson was only 4 years old. He stated to UCLA.edu, "I know Quinn will eventually need a transplant, but by the time he’s ready, I’ll be too old to give him one of my kidneys. So I approached UCLA and asked, ‘Why don’t I give a kidney to someone who needs it now, then get a voucher for my grandson to use when he needs a transplant in the future?’ And that’s just what we did.”
Basically, Broadman started a kidney chain by donating to a stranger in 2014. Now, armed with a Kidney Coupon/Voucher from his grandfather, Quinn will be able to receive a kidney from another Living Kidney Donor on that chain when he is in need. How long does it take for a certificate to be redeemed? "You can get a kidney more or less immediately," noted Dr. Veale.
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Now this Kidney Coupon program is spreading across the country and has already been used for a teenage girl in New York. While she already received a Kidney Transplant, her father donated a kidney so that she would have a gift certificate for a second Kidney Transplant should she need it in the future. Nine (9) other Kidney Transplant Centers have also agreed to offer the gift certificate program.
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The possible implications for Altruistic Living Kidney Donation are huge. Currently, some potential Altruistic Kidney Donors are reluctant to donate a kidney for fear that a family member might need one in the future. But if this Coupons/Vouchers program approach is successful, altruistic donors could donate a kidney and their spouse or child would receive a gift certificate for a future transplant. Isn't that amazing?
When concluding his interview with UCLA reporters, Mr. Broadman's eyes welled with tears and he reflected, "I’ve left a legacy for my grandson. I may not even be here when he realizes it, but I changed his life. It doesn’t get much better than that."
This program highlights the importance of trying to connect with an Altruistic Living Kidney Donor (family, member, friend or stranger). Dr. Veale suggested, "We have seen an increase in the number of Altruistic Donors over the past few years." Hence, be sure to continue to share your story and let others know of your need for a Kidney Transplant. If you do not know where to start or need further assistance, then sign up here and let the KidneyBuzz.com Social Media Team help.
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