Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients often desire more freedom and an improved quality of life. However, the Kidney Transplant Waiting List is flooded with over 100,000 patients in need, and rule changes are extending many Chronic Kidney Disease patients' wait-times to an average of 7 to 10 years and beyond. What's more, since Dialysis patients do their best not to look ill, most healthy potential Altruistic (Selfless) Living Kidney Donors do not realize that a patient is in need of a Kidney Transplant or how they can help. Hence, it is difficult for patients to imagine life with a Kidney Transplant - no longer needing Dialysis. Yet, there is hope beyond just waiting for a call (nearly 5,000 patients die each year without ever getting a call from the list) or awaiting the market release of breakthroughs. Rob Leibowitz, a 60-year-old Dialysis patient, is adopting a strategy that is growing in popularity and success in the Chronic Kidney Disease Community.
Mr. Leibowitz found himself in a difficult position when his attempts to find a selfless Living Kidney Donor failed. This is a situation to which many Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients can relate. Fortunately, Rob Leibowitz did not give up; instead, he doubled-down by wearing a simple white t-shirt with black writing that read "In Need Of Kidney O Positive Call" with his phone number. It worked!
Leibowitz wore the T-shirt during a trip to Disney World last summer. "I thought, 'if I can get one person to notice this shirt that could be a potential match, it's worth the $30.00 investment,'" he later told the TODAY Show. It may be surprising to many Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients, but people want to help. Rocio Sandoval (a Good Samaritan who was also at Disney World that day) took a picture of Rob's shirt and posted it on her Facebook Page. Within hours, the picture had reached over 91,000 people and Mr. Leibowitz told the news show, Inside Edition, that he had received about 300 texts along with 100 Facebook messages.
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After initial testing, three potential donors traveled to New York for additional testing (Yes, donors outside of a state can donate). Unfortunately, none of the three were a match. Then Leibowitz heard from the kind-hearted potential donor Richie Sully who lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana. After passing the initial tests at his local hospital, Sully took a 16-hour bus ride to New York for further evaluation. It could not have gone better. "The surgery was completed January 18th at New York Presbyterian Hospital and was a great success," according to the publication Sentinal Source. After four years of waiting, Leibowitz had finally found his match.
It may surprise many Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients, but there are many of people in the United States who would be willing to serve as selfless Living Kidney Donors or assist those in need by helping to share their stories. Ms. Sandoval said, "I just thought to myself, what if that were me?"
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A growing number of Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients are beginning to adopt an ONLINE and OFFLINE outreach strategy, similar to Mr. Leibowitz. By sharing their need OFFLINE as well as ONLINE many former Kidney Failure/Dialysis patients have been able to connect with a much larger number of kind-hearted and generous people who are willing and able to go through the donation process on their behalf.
Every patient's effort may not reach over 91,000 people, but the good news is that it does not need to. People want to help, but they must know about your need. Many patients think that it is against the rules to actively pursue selfless donors, but this is just not the case. In fact, an increasing number of Kidney Transplant Centers are encouraging patients to share their need for a Living Kidney Donor to avoid the massive Kidney Transplant Waiting List. If you need help getting started, then sign up here for the KidneyBuzz.com Find A Kidney Donor program (click here).
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Have you ever shared your need for a generous Living Kidney Donor? What was the outcome? Would you ever consider wearing a shirt advertising your need for a Kidney Transplant? Join us by sharing this inspirational story with others on Facebook, Twitter, via Email and verbally (click here). For the Latest Breaking News and Information which teaches those with Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis, and Diabetes how to better manage their lives, visit KidneyBuzz.com every day (over 250,000 monthly viewers). Also, be one of the over 68,000 Friends who Like us on Facebook.