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Chicago, Illinois, United States
Make Life Happen! Welcome to all of you who visit. If you are looking into becoming a Living Donor and would like a detailed idea of my journey..scroll down and begin with the older posts first. I welcome any questions or topics that you would like to know more about.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Different Types of Living Kidney Donors

I wish all of you a joyous New Year filled with hope and love. On December 30, 2010 I had the pleasure of visiting "Brenda" at Northwestern Hospital who is an altruisitc donor like myself. Brenda is my eleventh "kidney sister/brother" I have had the pleasure getting to know. Brenda had contacted me to gain insight directly from someone who had been through the process and we spoke for almost two hours during one of her visits for testing at Northwestern Hospital before her procedure.

Because of Brenda's altruistic donation, three people received a kidney! I am convinced that there are many out there that would like the opportunity to contact others who have been through the surgery to ease their minds and answer the questions we always seem to forget to ask. For those of you new to my blog and would like the history of my journey donating a kidney, please be sure to go back to the older posts to read the experience from the beginning. It will help answer questions you may have.

That is one of the reasons I like to not only speak with people myself, but refer them to others that I know who have been through the process as well such as Angela Stimpson who has a blog called oksolo.blogspot.com as well as Harvey Mysel, founder of The Living Kidney Donors Network, lkdn.org Brenda will be putting together her story for me and I will share that with you all on the next posting.

My surgery was on April 26, 2010 at Northwestern. I was the altruistic donor/domino that allowed eight people to recieve a kidney. Since then it has been my mission to serve as an advocate to other donors as well as to The Living Kidney Donors Network.
I received the Circle of Honor Award at the John Brockington 9th Annual Pro Athletes for Life Gala in October 2010, appeared with Harvey Mysel of the Living Kidney Donors Network on WTTW Channel 11 here in Chicago, have attended several fundraisers for kidney donor awareness and I am sitll amazed at how many people are totally confused about the Living Donor process and how it works.

Just to add a little humor here, I literally had a woman who heard that I was the domino for eight people to get a kidney and she came up to me to congratulate me and dead seriously asked, did they cut your kidney up into eight pieces? I had that deer looking into headlights look and certainly didn't want to make her feel uncomfortable. So I explained how the kidney pairing works. This posting I want to clarify what the difference is between a designated donor and an altruistic donor.

A designated donor is someone who has a loved one, friend, or someone that they know, who needs a kidney and are willing to donate one of their kidneys on their behalf. Now, understand just because you are a family member or friend, you are not always a perfect match for the person needing a kidney. BUT, the good news is, that doesn't stop them from getting a kidney. You will go through testing to determine if you are an appropriate match for your recipient. If you are not, then you should discuss being part of a kidney pairing, where your kidney would go to someone else who is a match and that persons designated donors kidney would go to the recipient that you know.

An altruistic donor, is someone like myself and many others, who would like to donate a kideny but does not have someone to donate to. It is something I wanted to do to give someone else an opportunity for a better life and avoid diaylsis.
With an altrusitc donor, sometimes hospitals can use the altrustic donor as the "domino" for a kidney pairing. Sometimes its two people sometimes its six and in my case, eight people (16 people total involved in the pairing) received a kidney.
The fact the someone donates a kidney, a gift of life, is a blessing beyond words for the recipient.

There are no stupid questions. When you or someone you love is suffering from kidney failure, don't hesitate to research and contact as many people as you can. The Living Kidney Donors Network, lkdn.org is dedicated in explaining all options for the recipient as well as the donor. One of the new programs that The Living Kidney Donors Network is offering is a beautiful starfish to thank those of you who have received a kidney and would like a special way to thank your donor.

One of the most common things I hear from people who I have mentored is "I can't believe more people aren't doing this". Well as with anything, not everyone is alike but for those of you who have, or are going to donate I can assure you that it is a decision you will not only never forget...but never regret.

It's one thing to drive a new mercedes up to someones door and say surprise!!! But when you give someone the gift of life...how do you possibly top that? I consider it a true honor to be a living kidney donor.

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