This may be our first introduction so there are three very important things about myself that I wish to share with you today. The first being the fact that I am originally from Philadelphia and my heart is with the PhiladelphiaPhillies and Eagles, no matter what! The second thing I would like you to know about me is that I am a dog lover, pure and simple. My golden retrievers are my family and my loves. They have, on more than one occasion, brought me great joy. The third and final fact that I would like to share with you today is that I am one of over 100,000 people waiting to receive a kidney transplant and I am looking for a Living Kidney Donor. Please allow me to tell you exactly what this means.
I was diagnosed with glomerulonephritis, a disease that causes inflammation and damage to the kidneys. In my case, it eventually caused my kidneys to fail leaving me with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Life with CKD is very difficult. Everything changes; diet, lifestyle, and quality of life are all diminished because of this disease. There are two treatment options for those with CKD, Dialysis or a kidney transplant. That’s it. Transplant lists are long and the wait for a transplant is, on average, four or more years. I am currently receiving Hemodialysis multiple times a week for hours on end. I sit in a chair hooked up to a machine that pumps and filters my blood. These machines remove waste that my kidneys would normally take care of. The process is time consuming and exhausting. After treatment it is difficult to find motivation to do anything as I am so tired. Living with Chronic Kidney Disease is a battle every single day. I fight the urge to eat my favorite foods because they are not good for a CKD patient. I hardly get to spend time with my son or my friends because I am always fatigued. Even work has proven to be extremely difficult and I have had to stop volunteering.
I started this Find a Kidney Donor Campaign in order to find a Living Kidney Donor who can help me regain a normal life. I am 59 years old and I have so much left to do with my life. I want to work, volunteer in my community, and fulfil my dream of opening a dog rescue when I retire. I know that life can be very difficult, but I also know that through the generosity of a stranger, there is an opportunity for it to be full and free.
Living Donation may sound scary but I assure you, the process is medically sound and safe. We really only need one kidney to thrive, but we are blessed with two (so we can share!). Truly, living donors go on to lead full, healthy lives with the advantage of knowing that they saved a life and granted another fellow human a second chance at thriving. The process itself is done laparoscopically through the abdomen, and can leave a small 2-3 inch scar that comes with bragging rights. Most donors spend a few days in the hospital following the procedure and are back to their normal lives shortly after that. Life will never be the same because you would know how thankful I am for your gift and you would know that I am alive, and happy, and truly living all because of you. So please, will you be that generous stranger, my living donor?
My blood type is A Negative and I am listed at the Cleveland Clinic in Weston, FL.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read about my life.
A Note From Faith:
Thank you for expressing interest and showing your support of my need for a living kidney donor.
I am listed at Cleveland Clinic Weston, FL 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 center at 954.659.5133. Learn more.
For further questions, please send me a message (below). Thanks again!
Hear From An Expert:
Kidney transplant recipient Kelly Belgrave and her lifelong friend, now fiancée Netfa Rickets tell the story of how Netfa became a living donor and donated one of his kidneys to Kelly, when her kidneys began to fail due to diabetes.
Jeff, a 34-year-old living donor, shares what he went through when donating a kidney for his brother Mark, who is 38.
My brother has had type 1 diabetes since he was 12 years old. My family knew he might have kidney failure someday. But it happened a lot sooner than we expected. One day his creatinine levels jumped from 2 to 6.8. So, we got slapped in the face with the reality that he was going to have to go on dialysis.
As soon as my sister and I heard the news, we said "OK, let’s find out if one of us can be a donor." There was no hesitation at all. My sister and I actually had a contest going as to who was going to win and get to donate.
I got out of the hospital three days after the surgery. I stayed at my parent’s house for a week and a half. My kids were five and six months at the time. And I was worried my five year old would be jumping all over me wanting to play. So I thought it would be best for me to recover at my parent’s.
That first week I slept a lot. Mark came by to visit every day. He lives very close to my parents. His recovery seemed to go about four times easier than mine. He’d come over and tease me, saying "Hey man, you look like hell."
I planned on going back to work in two weeks. I have a desk job so it’s not like I do physical labor. But that first day back at work, I was only able to work for three hours, and I was beat. But it got better each day. I was back at work full time three weeks after the surgery.
Seven months after the surgery, I’m back to my normal activities. I run and golf for exercise, play around with my kids, and have a few beers on occasion.
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 Faith's story via your publication, then please send a direct message below.