What else could I do but this? What would you do? What can you do? Quite simply, I'm just hoping you will continue reading this post & then help spread the word by sharing with your friends & family.
My brother needs a kidney. A few years ago, one of his kidneys had a tumor on it and was removed. Now he's down to one and its functioning at about 10%. In spite of him having tormented me as his little sister, I would gladly donate a kidney, but I am not a candidate.
What can I do then? How can I help? We're on opposite sides of the country, what can I do from 3000 miles away? I can't make his daily life any easier. I can't take him to dialysis treatments, once that starts. All I can do is try to use the power and the humanity of the Internet to help find him a donor.
Yes I said humanity. I've already learned since I began this campaign on Feb 28 2011 - that the Internet isn't some mystical place made of microchips and bandwidth. Its a community - a GLOBAL community of real people. People who care. People with hearts. People who want to help their fellow man. Several times since I began blogging on this topic, I have been moved to tears by the generous spirit & compassion of virtual strangers. Whether the hundreds of people who have shared this information on their Twitter, Facebook or Blip pages, or the wonderful people who have actually taken the time to find out if they could be a living donor candidate - there are caring people all over the world, anxious to help in some way and we appreciate all of you more than words can express!
I'd like to tell you a bit about Kevin. He's one of the kindest people I know. He's generous to a fault. He has an amazing voice, beautiful tenor! He's a pretty good guitarist & pianist as well. He studied music & computer science in college. He used to be an avid cyclist and a marathoner! I'll never forget that joyous photo of him crossing the finish line at the NYC Marathon (right). Kevin still runs. His running has probably kept him off of dialysis as long as he has been. But its inevitable, he can't survive with this low level of kidney function without having to start dialysis.
Once dialysis begins - so too begins the ticking of his survival clock. While some people survive for years on dialysis - the facts are irrefutable - the majority of dialysis patients die by year five.
For best results, the National Kidney Foundation recommends that patients with end-stage renal failure - get a transplant BEFORE having to start dialysis. Research has shown this provides the best opportunity for good health -post transplant. But the vast majority of patients on the transplant waiting list never live to see a cadaver donor kidney.
Consider that in 2008 there were 16,520 kidney transplants performed in the US. Yet in 2009, more than 80,000 people were still on the waiting list. That's why transplants from living donors has become so critical.
A live donor can direct their donation to the recipient - whereas with cadaver donors, the National Transplant Registry makes the decision regarding disbursement of available organs.
So what can YOU do? #1 - you could simply share the link to this blog with your friends, family, other social media sites. #2 - Interested in being a living donor for Kevin? Click here to contact the Penn Transplant Institute website where you can complete the Kidney Living Donor Referral Form for Kevin Bartley & call the transplant team at 215-662-6200. Any inquiry you make would remain confidential between the donor and the Penn Transplant Institute.
As of today, Kevin still needs a donor. I will update through this blog, if a donor is found so please bookmark this page & check back for future updates.