This Find A Kidney Donor Campaign is my biggest effort to get the help I need to live. I am at a cross road where I can either give up or fight even harder. My fiancé is concerned that after everything I been through maybe I might choose the former. I won’t give up! I cannot just roll over and stop wrestling against this disease, chronic kidney disease (CKD), because I have way too much to live for. This period of time in my life was meant to be a season of peace and reconciliation and YES, Love. I have four children who live their own lives as contributors to society, and although we like many families have our differences, I could not be prouder of them all. I love them all very much. Not many things make sense in my life these days, but of that I am very certain. I used to be able to administer dialysis to myself in my home, but recently I had to begin the transition from home to in-center treatments where health technicians can conduct my treatments. It’s tough. I function best when I have control over my life. I most likely am not the only person who feels this way, but when dealing with an illness your needs manifests in a profound way. I’ve asked friends and family for their help. Some have tried to help me. It’s very difficult to find a compatible match. It became clear to me that I had to look further than my immediate surroundings and beyond those whom I dearly love and mean so much to me. That’s why I set up this campaign. I want to share my story with you hoping that you will look at my life and see me as someone worth saving. Will you be my donor? Your answer will determine whether I have an opportunity to fulfill the important deeds of this season of my life or if this will be my final season. I’ve been fighting my heart out. I’ve done all that I can possibly do for myself. From here I need your help. Will you please be my donor?
It is not only myself whom I am concerned about. I wanted to understand fully what my request of you really means. To learn why anybody would be a donor, I felt it necessary to read a few testimonials of people who said YES to being a donor to someone who would have otherwise died. One after another felt it to be the proudest thing they had ever done. Over and over when asked, they said they would do it again if they could. Scientist have proven that human beings only require one healthy kidney to live their life span and that helped these life savers to make the difference for their recipients. I am asking you to think deeply about being my donor. Consider my life and please help me. I am listed at The University of Pennsylvania.
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 contact the University of Pennsylvania Kidney Transplant Center at 800-789-7366 or 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!
Hear From An Expert:
Lloyd Ratner, MD, Director, Renal and Pancreatic Transplant Program, tells prospective patients, kidney donors, and families what they need to know about kidney donation and transplantation. In this direct and engaging presentation, Dr. Ratner provides a wealth of information about the advantages of living donor kidney donation; laparoscopic and open surgical techniques; what donors and recipients should expect during and after surgery; post-operative pain and followup; and post-donation pregnancy.
Here Is Why Dylan Became 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.
“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.” - Allyssa Bates
“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.
Written Testimonial II:
Ray is a living kidney donor who said wrote about his experience: "In August 2013 I decided to donate (anonymously) a kidney to anyone who needed it more than I did. Although in my early 60s I considered myself in good enough health to undertake this procedure. After about 6 months of tests this was confirmed, and the process of finding the most suitable recipient was started. After almost exactly a year the transplant took place, the whole process being documented in a blog – kidneydonor2014.wordpress.com.
After a few weeks of recuperation I was back at work, and life was completely back to normal for me within a month or two. I have always been a keen outdoors person and since the operation I have successfully completed several multi-day walks, such as the 4-day Heaphy Track Great Walk in New Zealand.
Most recently I walked, in 30 days total, El Camino de Santiago, the 880 km pilgrimage from the French Pyrenees across Spain to Santiago de Compostela and on to the coast at Finisterre. Life with one kidney certainly does rock!"
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.”
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.
If you would like to share Keith's story via your publication, then please send him a direct message below.