People with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) are literally on life support so they go through the extensive testing required to become a kidney transplant recipient, only to find that they are placed on a long waiting list. This process can take as much as 6-8 years in certain regions of the country. In the hope of finding an unknown benevolent donor who is willing to surrender one of their kidneys, some embark on a public campaign through their clubs, churches, and other networks to boost their chances of finding a suitable kidney.
Many feel that by taking the above steps they have done all they can. However, until you have sat down and wrote out a list of approximately 7 to 10 people who you know personally, and who you intend to speak to directly about your circumstance, you may be inadvertently overlooking a potential and willing donor that can save your life. KidneyBuzz.com empathizes with you about the difficulty and emotional complexity of discussing your need for a kidney with your family and friends. In spite of that, it is important that you pursue this strategy to substantially increase your chances of receiving a compatible kidney.
How do you talk about this subject in a way that might trigger someone’s desire to donate? Before you begin talking to family and friends about your need for a kidney, KidneyBuzz.com recommends that you become fully informed on the subject through websites such as this to answer any questions that may arise about your situation.
Most potential recipients think that if someone wanted to give them a kidney, they would have offered. But on the flip side, no one can offer to help if they don’t know you are in need. Tell your family and friends about your declining renal function and the best options for your outcome. Then let it soak in. Time is needed to absorb what you’ve told them. It’s usually not the best approach to come right out and ask if someone will give you a kidney. Everyone processes information differently, so let them react naturally. This takes the pressure off of actually asking someone for a kidney and allows you to just focus on your story and raising organ donation awareness. You never know. Perhaps your story will strike a chord with some good-natured person who will want to offer the gift of life.
You’ll also want to practice responses to questions you may get from those hearing your story. Some may be questions of curiosity about your need and the transplant procedure. Others may be more directed toward your reason for asking them. Either way, the better educated you are and the more practice you have in answering these questions, the calmer you can remain if the question catches you off guard. When talking with family and friends, be sure to speak from the heart. Your sincerity will help you connect emotionally with people who are hearing your story. If you aren’t sincere, people won’t take you seriously. If you find that you are nervous when first broaching the topic, do not be concerned as you will gain more confidence the more you talk about it.
Finally, if you’ve started sharing your story with your closest family and friends and haven’t found a compatible donor yet, you may decide to turn this tight-knit circle into your own personal advocates. Ask them to share your story and need for a kidney with others in their circles.
References: "Letting People Know You Need a Kidney." Asking For A Kidney.