Greetings Facebook friends and family! Taking a bit of a turn this morning with a rather different kind of post. This is one which took a bit of internal discourse in order to decide just how to go about presenting, but I finally decided to just let ‘er rip and get the information out there.
Some of you are aware that I was the extremely fortunate recipient of a donated kidney back in 1988. My dear, and unfortunately now deceased sister Elizabeth was the donor, and I have enjoyed an amazing near-28 years of a normal life, something of a record from what I understand! That extended life (of the kidney, not the rest of my mortal goo), has now almost come to an end, and I am once again starting an aggressive search for another living donor. Over the past 2 months, I have transitioned into a program of thrice-weekly dialysis, (at home, thankfully, which is a blessing), and am still able to maintain a more or less normal work schedule, although with a lot of scheduling challenges.
After recieving the news that I have been accepted into the Piedmont Transplant program (in Atlanta), after months of evaluations and testing, it was recommended that I begin an outreach to seek potential donors. The Living Donor program, and the process itself, has become highly organized and efficient. The operation for the donor is generally done laproscopically, and involves a few days’ hospital stay, and a couple of weeks to recoup. Quite a commitment, but literally a life changing and life saving gift. All associated costs and financial issues are handled on my side of the equation.
Specifically, what is needed to begin the donor process, is the qualification of blood type. I am B negative. The donor must be either B or O. Once an initial conversation has taken place between the potential donor and the Transplant Coordinator, further qualifications and testing will be scheduled. (That information is at the bottom of this too-wordy message).
So, the long and the short is that I realize this is an extraordinarily profound request that I am putting out here. Most of us probably know friends, relatives, etc., who have been on one side or another of this process. There are roughly 100,000 kidney transplants performed in the US every year, and with a living donor, close to a 98% success rate long term. The waiting time for a living donor is currently 4-5 years. I’m praying to knock that down to a few months if possible!
The notion of becoming a Living Donor is obviously a deeply personal decision, one which will have profoundly life-changing impact on both the donor and recipient. If you feel so called to consider making such a commitment, I would greatly appreciate your contacting the following person at Piedmont Transplant. You might also find the following websites very helpful and informative: Piedmonttransplant.org/livingdonor, orPiedmont.org/TransplantEdu. The transplant coordinator is Leanne Whitehead, RN, phone: 404-605-4605. NOTE: All conversations and information exchanged with the coordinator and any of Piedmont’s team is confidential. Of course, I will be more than happy to ‘fill in the blanks’ with any questions you may have as well. Don’t hesitate to contact me directly.
With heartfelt gratitude,