1.) What is your age? 37
2.) Do you have children or grandchildren? I have two boys. Gabriel(7) and Greyson(1)
3.) How long have you been married? I've been married for 10yrs
4.) Are you on Dialysis Currently?Thankfully I am not on dialysis
5.) What type of Dialysis do you currently conduct? I plan to do peritoneal dialysis as my treatment
6.) What emotional toll has Kidney Failure had on you?
7.) If you could talk to someone who is interested in donating to you, what would you say? I would tell them to get checked not only for the purpose of donating but your personal health.
8.) What is your blood type?O+
9.) Where are you listed (name of Transplant Center)?Duke my transplant coordinator is Linette Alvis (919) 613-7777
10.) Once you receive your Kidney, what do you plan on doing with your future? Continue to educate others about donating
11.) What happened that caused you to need a Kidney Transplant?
I have scarred tissue resulting from possible high blood pressure as a child
12.) Do you have a specific religion or religious affiliation? Baptist
13.) How has Kidney Failure/Dialysis impacted your quality of life? There is this looming uncertainty of what if. Being that I'm not currently on dialysis, I know at some pout I may have to alter my routine
14.) What is the first thing that you plan on doing after you have recovered from your Kidney Transplant Surgery? Getting back to my normal routine with a more healthier focus on life
15.) Add any other information which you think may be peculiar to you and would be of interest to a potential donor. We believe in emphasizing the uniqueness of the individual. I enjoy life and play the hand I'm dealt. I love my family and want the best for them.
Thank you for expressing interest and showing your support of my need for a living kidney donor.
I am listed at Duke University Transplant Center and I would like you to know that the process of living kidney donation is safe, and if you or someone you know would like to donate, then please contact my transplant coordinator, Linette Alvis, at (919) 613-7777
For further questions, please send me a message (below). Thanks again!
Hear From An Expert:
I am a living kidney donor and this is the process I went through and my experience. I hope this video helps someone thinking about being a living kidney donor or someone that has already started the process. Please contact me with any questions and I will answer them to the best of my ability.
“If it can help someone, my goodness yes, do it. What’s the downside?” - Marc (Living Kidney Donor)
Marc is a pragmatic man. A former venture capitalist and the current executive vice president of the Steadman Hawkins Research Foundation, Marc didn’t get where he is today by letting emotion rule the day. To Marc, life is about analyzing the facts and making a decision accordingly. Nothing more. “But, there are times one has to say, ‘What the heck? Go for it,’” he says.
So when his older brother needed a kidney, Marc gave him one, and he did it without a ton of emotion or debate.
“If you see someone standing in front of a dangerous situation, you do something to stop impending disaster,” Marc said matter-of-factly. “It’s what we’re supposed to do.”
Marc’s older brother, Alexander, was diagnosed with kidney disease before he was old enough to walk. Back then, the doctors told Alexander’s parents he probably wouldn’t live to enter kindergarten. But he did. Then the doctors said he wouldn’t live to see his 10th birthday. But he did.
The ominous predictions continued, but his will to live always won out. As medications advanced, Alexander was able to control his disease without dialysis. As children, Alexander’s three brothers probably didn’t know that Alexander’s health—even his ability to live one year longer—was so precarious. “I don’t think that we were ever fully aware of that. We just knew our brother was sick,” Marc recalled.
When Marc was about 12, he remembers telling his brother he would give him a kidney if he ever needed one. Thirty-two years later, in August 1996, Alexander took him up on that offer.
By now Alexander’s kidneys had deteriorated to the point where it was clear he might not survive without a new kidney. Marc immediately asked to be tested to see if he would be a match.
“It was just a no-brainer,” Marc said. Even back then, he didn’t really see it as that big of a deal.
“This is just one of the things I’ve got going on in the next couple of weeks,” Marc recalled thinking. “I’ve got meetings, a new business venture, a new home and other things I’m doing as well.”
Marc was a match—which he always sensed he would be—and the surgery was scheduled. Before the operation, Marc was in great physical health, and his brother obviously wasn’t. For a short time, the surgery flip-flopped that. Now Marc was recovering from major surgery, but Alexander was immediately feeling better because he had a new kidney that was doing its job. But that didn’t last.
About six months after the surgery, Alexander developed complications with one of his medications, and began to have some rejection reactions. The doctors were advising that he get rid of the donated kidney and go on dialysis. He called Marc and asked for his opinion. It was his kidney, after all.
“It’s yours now. You can do what you want with it,” Marc recalled telling his brother. Together they assessed different treatment options that could be done while preserving the donated kidney. Ultimately, Alexander’s condition improved. That was nearly 13 years ago. Today, Alexander is retired and living with his wife in Florida.
Marc said he never really suffered any effects as a result of donating one kidney. An avid bicyclist and skier before and after surgery, he says nothing has changed in his life. Marc doesn’t think too often about his choice to give his brother a kidney. Occasionally, he’s reminded by the scar, but even in retrospect, the decision was simple. And he hopes others will consider doing the same.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Who can be a donor?
To qualify as a living donor, an individual must be in good health, free from any serious medical problems and between the ages of 21 and 60.
What are the risks involved?
Donating a kidney does not have any long-term effect on health. Donors may experience a slight rise in blood pressure and a small amount of excess protein in the urine following surgery. There is no greater risk of developing kidney failure after donating at kidney than anyone in the general population.
Are there activities that I will not be able to do in the future if I choose to donate a kidney?
In general, donating a kidney does not have any long-term effect on health. Some restrictions do apply following donor surgery, including reducing or eliminating the use of NSAIDS and avoiding any activity that may cause injury to the surgical area.
Does the evaluation process have to be completed at Penn?
The entire evaluation process is completed at Penn; however, if the prospective donor lives at a distance, arrangements can be made for some of the initial screening to be done at the donor's location.
Who makes the final decision on potential donors?
Based on the evaluation results, the Transplant team (comprised of nephrologists, nurses, social workers, dieticians and other transplant specialists) decides whether or not to proceed with a living donor kidney transplant as the best therapeutic option.
Who pays for the donor's medical expenses?
The recipient's insurance covers all of the donor's evaluation and hospitalization costs; however, it does not cover lost income, transportation costs or personal expenses. The transplant financial advisor reviews the potential donor/recipient procedures and associated costs carefully prior to the evaluation.
How long will I be in the hospital?
Most donors remain in the hospital for two to three days.
What is the recovery process like?
Most kidney donors resume normal activities four to six weeks after surgery. Donors are not able to drive for three to four weeks after discharge and are not permitted to lift heavy objects. You may need assistance with daily living activities during this time.
How long will I be out of work?
Depending on the nature of the work, donors typically return to work between 10 days and two weeks.
What happens if I decide not to become a living liver donor?
At any point, for any reason, the evaluation process can be stopped. The recipient will remain active on the transplant list and is free to find another potential living donor.
Chief Medical Officer (United Network for Organ Sharing) Dr. David Klassen (Nephrologist) said in a Huffington Post article, "I’ve also witnessed the results of the severe organ shortage in this country. Too often I’ve lost patients because the organ they needed did not come in time. Too many lives cut short. Too many dreams unlived." The following are a few very sobering stats which Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients should share as well as their loved ones:
90,000 - The number of Dialysis patients that die every year according to Renal and Urology News.
121,076 - The number of people currently waiting for a lifesaving organ in the United States, as reported by the United Network for Organ Sharing.
100,269 - The number of patients awaiting a Kidney Transplant specifically. This suggests that approximately 80.9% of the entire organ transplant waiting list is made of individuals in need of a kidney. It is important to note that living kidney donation is very safe and if found to be a match, a donor would undergo a rigorous health evaluation before donating to ensure good long-term health outcomes.
22 - The number of people who die every single day, waiting for a transplant.
4,500 - The number of Chronic Kidney Disease patients that die every year waiting for a kidney transplant, as noted by the Living Kidney Donor Network.
6 - The number of people added to the transplant wait list every hour, reported by Huffington Post.
0 (zero) - The number of major religions that are against their members donating an organ. All major organized religions in the United States are favorable of organ and tissue donation and most likely consider it an act of charity.
Take A Moment To Learn What A Difference You Could Make:
The Need For Living Kidney Donors
“There are about 90,000 people waiting for kidney transplants in the United States,” says Dr. Gibney. “There are about 14,000 kidney transplants a year. Each year, more people are in need of organs and get added to that list.
So that’s one of the things that makes living donation so important is that there’s a fairly limited supply of organs. If there are friends or family members who can give, that can save lives and really extend people’s lives by years and years.”
If you would like to share Douglas' story via your publication, then please send a direct message below.