UPDATE: Reports have already suggested that Lamar Odom does not need Dialysis any longer because his kidney function recovered. However, should he need a Kidney in the future, he will likely have a greater advantage than the average Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patient. The question should be: "Is that fair?" Read more below and leave a comment on the KidneyBuzz.com Facebook Fan Page. Your voice is important.
ORIGINAL: News has rapidly circulated that the former National Basketball Association (NBA) star player, Lamar Odom, has reportedly suffered Kidney Failure, begun Dialysis and may need to undergo Kidney Transplant surgery. Lamar's need for a Kidney Transplant, while unfortunate, is not any different than the over 122,554 Chronic Kidney Disease patients in need of a Kidney Transplant today who are listed at one or more of the 200+ Transplant Centers in the United States. However should the reports of his current state be accurate, his access to Kidney Transplants and chances of getting a transplant sooner is likely much higher than others on the list for the simple fact that he is a wealthy and famous figure. Is that fair?
According to the National Kidney Foundation, "12 people die each day while waiting for a life-saving Kidney Transplant, and every 14 minutes someone is added to the Kidney Transplant List." While it is heavily speculated in the Chronic Kidney Disease community, it is near impossible for individuals to "game" or "trick" the Deceased (Dead) Donor System in place even if the Chronic Kidney Disease patient is wealthy because matching donor-recipients are based on complex algorithms for best matches. The Website Resource, Jezebel writes, "Essentially, patients are not called up in order of 1, 2, 3, and 4. It ends up being more like patients 5, 99, 2045, and 9384, as the algorithm pulls out the people from the list who will actually match the available organ."
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However, Multi-listing (listing at multiple Kidney Transplant Centers) has been seen as a process that favors the rich because individuals of means can put themselves on several lists, aware that they can travel easily to the location when their number is up - increasing the odds of finding a match. Jezebel also noted that due to the fact that there is no limit to the amount of Transplant Centers to which an individual can list, "Rich people can also move to areas with greater odds of receiving Kidney Transplants."
Still, the biggest advantage famous Chronic Kidney Disease patients have is receiving Living Kidney Donations from strangers and fans that learn about their need. While a typical Chronic Kidney Disease patient must rely on their small network of loved ones to determine if they are a match, a famous person instantly has millions (if not, hundreds of millions) of possible donors who know of their need and want to help a childhood idol, celebrity crush or just want to know that they helped save a famous person's life.
Take Lamar Odom for example, upon word hitting the internet that he was in need of a Kidney Transplant, many fans took to Social Media to offer. One writing, “I don't just say stuff. If Lamar needs a kidney I'm willing to donate," reported Page Six.
While, fame is a powerful tool to which celebrities have at their disposal, now Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients in need of a Kidney Transplant can use Social Media to share their story and build a community around their need to connect with potential donors who want to help. A leading Transplant Center, California Pacific Medical Center, suggested it works. A representative stated, "Some people come in with ten donors. When Social Media word gets around, there can be hundreds of people."
“I’ve been doing this for 15 years and it still blows me away,” said Dr. Liise Kayler (Chief of Kidney and Pancreas Transplants at Erie County Medical Center) about Living Kidney Donors who donate to strangers they meet on Social Media. She continued, "It's huge! A lot of times, if we have a recipient that doesn’t have a donor, we recommend (to) let people on Facebook know. Get the word out."
If you do not already have a Social Media Campaign or are not seeing tangible results from an existing effort, then click here and consider connecting with KidneyBuzz.com regarding the Find A Kidney Donor Campaign which has proven to connect hundreds of Chronic Kidney Disease patients with interested Altruistic (Selfless) Living Kidney Donors.
Is the ability that rich and famous Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients have to get a Kidney Transplant sooner, fair? Share your answer with the over 30,300 Friends at the KidneyBuzz.com Facebook Fan Page. Also, consider following the over 115,000 monthly visitors to KidneyBuzz.com (the largest Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis specific resource outside of the National Kidney Foundation) for your Number One (1) source of Daily News, Information, Impact Meals, Inspirational Quotes, and tailored Products and Services which teach Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis, Diabetes and High Blood Pressure patients how to better manage and improve their lives.