Adventures of a Kidney Donor

September 25, 2015

Michigan Libraries for Life 2015

mich lib for lifeOctober is the month for the annual Michigan Libraries for Life campaign. My library, Capital Area District Libraries is participating to

help spread the word about organ donation and to help people sign on to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. From Monday, Oct. 5 to Friday, Oct. 9 you can visit participating CADL libraries* to learn more or to sign up with the Registry. It only takes a few minutes but the impact is enormous! Shout out to our neighbor, East Lansing Public Library is also participating.

About 3,400 people are waiting for a life-saving organ in Michigan today.  Twenty-one people die each day because an organ transplant was not available in time. Your decision to someday donate could save up to eight lives. Your tissue can ease the pain and improve the lives of up to 50 more sick, injured and blind people.

Probably someone you know has been or will be impacted by the need for an organ or tissue. We have several library staff members directly impacted by organ donation:

Bridget cuts the ribbon for the 2015 Greater Lansing Kidney Walk Photo by mikidneywalk

Bridget cuts the ribbon for the 2015 Greater Lansing Kidney Walk
Photo by mikidneywalk

Jon from Information Technology: A few years ago, Jon’s young daughter Bridget was diagnosed with the extremely rare chronic kidney disorder Nephronophthisis which damaged both of her kidneys. Fortunately, Bridget didn’t have to go on the waiting list. Her mom Amy gave her the gift of life, donating one of her kidneys to Bridget.

Kiersten and her 10th anniversary kidney cake!

Kiersten and her 10th anniversary kidney cake!

Kiersten from Circulation was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease several years ago. She had started dialysis when her best friend Theresa stepped up to give her the gift of life in 2003. When Theresa found out she was a match for her friend she had only one thing to say at the time: “Let’s do this!”

If you have been reading my blog posts, you know why I am so passionate about organ donation. My dear friend Jackie bravely battled polycystic kidney disease and dialysis for years. She inspired me to donate a kidney to a stranger in 2011. Thankfully Jackie received a kidney in 2010!

*If you live in the greater Lansing area, visit a participating CADL library or East Lansing Public Library during the campaign. If you are a Michiganian, see if your local library is participating. If not, ask them to join next year!

CADL location and times:

Join the Michigan Registry or Join the Registry in your state.


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September 15, 2013

Need Kidney 4 Wife

kidney 4 wife

Larry and his sign, CBS News

Kidney donation stories always make me cry, (no surprise) and this one REALLY hits home.  You may have heard about his story. Larry Swilling has been married to his wife Jimmy Sue for 57 years. When Jimmy Sue’s kidneys failed, Larry knew he had to get her a kidney. So the 77 year old took to the streets–literally.

He walked the streets of his hometown Anderson South Carolina with a large sandwich board sign simply reading: “Need Kidney  4 Wife” and his telephone number. His wide needed a transplant and he wasn’t shy. It was the walk of his life–and hers. “I had to do something,” he said. “She looks after me, and I look after her.”

More than 100 people got tested to see if they were a match due to Larry’s efforts. Finally after a year a match was found, 41-year-old retired Navy lieutenant commander Kelly Weaverling. The surgeries took place September 11th and well.

Larry says he has two new missions: to find other donors for other people, and to find a way to properly thank the woman who gave him his wife back. His first mission is already yielding results; many people have stepped forward to get tested for live donation and/or are registering to be organ donors as a result of his story.

As for thanking Kelly, she says simply: “Just take care of your wife,” Kelly replied. “Just take care of her.” Steve Hartman, who reported this story says: “Doubt that’ll be a problem.”

Kidney heroes Larry Kelly and Jimmy Sue, CBS News

Kidney heroes Larry Kelly and Jimmy Sue, CBS News

I am SO happy that this story had a happy ending.  People in need of organs shouldn’t have to resort to such desperate measures. One way to keep people off of the streets with sandwich boards? REGISTER TO BE AN ORGAN DONOR, and encourage friends, family and co-workers to do so!

Join the Michigan Registry or Join the Registry in your state.

Go to List of Resources on Kidney Donation

June 9, 2013

The Solution: Register to Be an Organ Donor!

Filed under: Support — by anne315 @ 1:08 pm
Tags: , ,

donorI talk about living donation a lot, but it is always important to remember how crucial donation after death and organ donation registries are.

It is heartbreaking to see children in dire health waiting desperately for organs. Recently little ten year old Sarah Murnaghan has been in the news. She suffers from cystic fibrosis and is in desperate need of a lung transplant. Her chances of getting an organ were limited because of the rules set down by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, or OPTN. There is a two tier system that limits children to receiving organs from other children and teens and adults get the first chance at adult organs. Her parents fought the rule in court. Now Sarah and another child desperately in need of a transplant, eleven year old Javier Acosta, are eligible for adult or child organs.

The whole heartbreaking process, a dilemma for the families, medical professionals and courts, could be avoided if more people would register to be organ donors.

There is a great article by JoNel Aleccia on NBC News.com that discusses the Murnaghan situation and the overall organ shortage problem. Excerpts from the article:

Only about 45 percent of adults in the U.S. — nearly 109 million people — are organ donors, a figure that donation and transplant experts say seems tragically low when the public’s attention is riveted on the lack of organs for a child such as Sarah.

The biggest barrier to registering is procrastination — tempered with a little denial, said Sharon Ross, a spokeswoman for the San Diego affiliate of Donate Life.

More than 118,000 people are waiting for organs, including nearly 76,000 who actively need them now, according to OPTN. About 18 people die every day awaiting transplants.

“People sometimes believe that organ allocation is the primary issue, when in reality, the crisis is the lack of supply of organs for transplant,” Fleming said.

Donation advocates say there’s one certain way to avoid what Sebelius described as the “incredibly agonizing” situation of having to ration organs: Get people to donate.

“We certainly believe that if everyone were a registered donor, it could double the number of transplants each year,” said Fleming, noting it would boost last year’s 28,000 transplants to more than 56,000.

They work hard to rebut common myths about organ donation designation, including this one: ER doctors won’t work as hard to revive potential donors in a crisis.

Minority groups including blacks, Hispanics and Asians are often reluctant to donate, primarily because of religious or cultural reservations, experts say. White people account for about two-thirds of all organ donations.

“The real message is this,” Fleming said. “If you feel discomfort or outrage for this young woman, the real response, the way to provide hope to people like Sarah is to become an organ donor.”

There are at least 3,000 Michiganders currently on a waiting list for an organ. Michigan has made big strides lately toward adding more names to the donor registry but we have far to go.

Join the Michigan Registry or Join the Registry in your state.donor license plate

Go to List of Resources on Kidney Donation

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