Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kidney Donor Appeal [a guest editorial]

My daughter Sandra is in need of a living kidney donor.

Twenty years ago, Sandra’s diabetes led to her need for a new kidney and pancreas. Through the generosity of a donor family, she received those organs. She worked hard to care for her new organs that have lasted several years longer than expected, however both of the transplant organs have failed.

Currently she is being kept alive by dialysis. Though a person can live several years on dialysis, the procedure requires a person to be attached to a machine for roughly four hours, three sessions per week. Because of the unpleasant side effects, such as nausea, exhaustion, and headaches, coupled with weakening of the body and reduced quality of life, dialysis is a life-sustaining measure, not a solution.

Sandra is on the list for a deceased donor kidney, but for a person like Sandra with blood type O, the wait is more than four years. There are 80,000 to 90,000 people in the United States awaiting a donor kidney. A person with type O blood can volunteer to donate a kidney directly to Sandra. A person with another blood type can donate to the Living Donor Exchange Program, which in turn would donate a kidney to her.

Once a donor steps forward, the procedure can be expedited to within two to three months. About 30 percent of living kidney donors do not know the recipient. Donors can live anywhere in the United States. Surgery for the donor is laparoscopic, and the recovery time is 2 to 3 weeks. Sandra’s insurance pays for donor tests and all other medical costs including surgery and post surgery.

Anyone interested in donating should contact the University of Washington Medical Center at 206-598-3627. The identity of the inquiring person is never revealed to Sandra or her family.

I know this is a lot to ask, but we lost her mother to diabetes and my hope is to have Sandra with us for many more years. I am asking you to talk about the Living Donor Program to many people. I am willing to talk with anyone, including groups, about this need. Please contact me at 719-635-0798. Also, I would ask that you consider becoming an organ donor by checking the donor box on your driver’s license.

 Thank you for your time and your thoughtfulness.

 Glenn Driscoll

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