Since the first live kidney donation was performed in Boston in 1954, there have been many improvements in tissue matching, in the surgical procedure and in anti-rejection medications.
By 2010, 37% of all kidney transplants were from living donors! According to research by the US Department of Health and Human Services Organ Procurement and Transpantation Network, 22% of live kidney donations were from non-related, directed donations. Meaning there were 1,388 good Samaritans who directed their gift of life to a particular unrelated recipient.
I want to dedicate this blog to those heroes. Some donate anonymously, some give their kidney to a virtual stranger. In my book they are all angels for their selfless gift of life!
Consider Lora - the "good Samaritan" who donated a kidney to a stranger, a 71 year olf grandmother named Dee, so that Dee could live to celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary. So that Dee would be alive to witness the marriage of the first of her nine grandchildren. The most common question Lora got pre-transplant was "why would anyone donate a kidney to a stranger?" Lora just thought of the Biblical story of the Good Samaritan who stopped to help a traveler in need after others passed him by. Lora said "Good Samaritan donors do not know any particular recipient but decide to donate to a stranger because it is the right thing to do."
Meet Diane, who's comment in a store about her son needing another kidney transplant, was overheard by a stranger-an employee of the store. This young man, a total stranger, told Diane he wanted to be tested to see if he was a match for her son. The donor was adamant and said: "I want to do this. If everyone in this world would do this, our world would be a better place to live". The stranger WAS a match for Diane's son and on the day of surgery told Diane: "It gave me such joy to do this for your son."
My online efforts on behalf of my brother Kevin, to help find him a live kidney donor, have made me aware of the great need for organ donors in the U.S. Over 120,000 people are currently on the organ donor waiting list. More than 90,000 of those are waiting for a kidney. Unfortunately, more than 4,000 die each year, without receiving the kidney they so desperately need.
To start the living donor process for Kevin, simply fill out the Live Kidney Donor Referral form and fax it to the Penn Transplant Institute in Philadelphia.
If you haven't already registered through your driver's license to be an organ donor, please do so through this link to the US Health & Human Services so that even in death, you can be a hero!