My amazing father, after spending his entire career helping, healing, and caring for others, is in renal failure and now needs a kidney.
His story begins in Brooklyn, NY, in the late 1950s, in his parent’s small two bedrooms, 1 bath apartment. His parents slept in the living room, so he and his sister could each have their own rooms. The country was at war. Already, he refused to accept the hand dealt to him. Before his last year of medical school, he moved out, married his childhood sweetheart, had us three kids, a dog, a fish tank, and a hobby growing orchids in a Brooklyn apartment, while serving in the Army Reserves, and working at night in the local prisons for extra money. He was at Downstate Medical School in the 1960s, learning under Dr. Eli Friedman, a godfather of dialysis and an ethicist who recently authored “Deciding Who Shall Die.” Also, under the leadership of Dr. Frank Spencer, Chair of Surgery at NYU, he and his classmates helped innovate and improve open heart surgery. Here's a photo of my dad saving a life. Then he packed up the car.
He moved us all to New Orleans, at age 34, to take his first academic position, helping to initiate the heart surgery department at a major university. My dad was the patient's advocate. He went on to personally save hundreds of lives, with his own two hands, and then oversee thousands more by teaching and overseeing the next generation of chest surgeons. He never hesitated to protect the quality of patient care. When he retired, I encouraged him to become a professional patient advocate. Wouldn't you want him fighting for you?
My father itches to fight for the rest of us. In the 1980s, he found himself a cause when one of his youngest patients progressively died after smoking a few clove cigarettes, far more dangerous than regular cigarettes. Carrying that boy’s story into debates and the national limelight, my father ultimately became the leader of a lobbying effort for a ban on clove cigarettes in Maryland and California. That ban lasted for more than twenty years.
Now at age 76, with an obsession to keep fighting for the rest of us well into his 90s, he's at a crossroads. He's still married to my amazing mother, and adores her after 53 years. His 3 children are movers and shakers. His 5 granddaughters are going to be superheroes too.
Now the hero needs a kidney. I'm consigned to being a champion for my dad, and am taking on the cause of increasing donors nationwide. Will you be a hero too? Learn below about being a kidney donor. Or help us by re-posting www.kidney4fred.com on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Thank you, and G-d bless.
Thank you for expressing interest and showing your support of my need for a living kidney donor.
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 send me a message (below). Thanks again!
What is the Altruistic Living Donor Program?
The Altruistic Living Donor Program matches altruistic (selfless) donors with recipients awaiting transplantation. The transplant team is available to fully evaluate all potential living donors, whether living-related, emotionally-related or altruistic. The Renal and Pancreas Transplant Division is experienced in the evaluation and management of all living donors.
Click here to learn about how safe Living Kidney Donation really is.
Click here to learn more about the urgent need for more kind-hearted, generous potential Living Kidney Donors like you!
Fred's Awards And Accreditations:
Fred has spent his entire career helping and healing others in need as a surgeon. He truly values helping others (much like you).
Hear From The Experts:
Phil Fischer, M.D., Mayo Clinic Children's Center physician at, tells how a young patient in need of a kidney transplant touched his heart and prompted him to explore anonymous living donation, sometimes referred to as Good Samaritan, non-directed, or altruistic donation.
Dr. Jennifer Verbesey of MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute discusses kidney transplant and the nation's largest living donor kidney matching program.
I'm hoping to educate people about the donation process from the donor's perspective. I had so many questions about what my life would look like post donation and it was very difficult to find answers.
Why You Should Consider Being A Living Kidney Donor:
The kidney transplant wait list has been increasing sharply in the US over the past two decades. Most transplants come from deceased donors — people who elect to donate their organs when they die. But there's another large source of potential kidneys: living donors. Since we have two kidneys, most people can share a kidney with other people. Most living donors give a kidney to someone they know, like a relative or a friend. But there are also non-directed living kidney donors, other wise known as altruistic donors or good samaritans. Watch this video to see the story of one such donor, Dylan Matthews.
“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 About Living Kidney Donation:
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.
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.
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