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I donated a kidney to someone I did not know. All I knew was that there were thousands of people out there in need a new kidney as their health was really suffering. I had two kidneys – one of them was a spare. Why wait until I am dead, in the hope my organs would still be viable. I wanted to make sure at least one person benefited now.

It is not just the recipient who benefits from a kidney transplant. It is their whole family! What must it be like to be the spouse, parent, child, best friend etc of someone who you know, just watching them day after day ….. praying they get the life saving phone call to say there is a kidney available.

What must it be like for the person knowing they cannot have as much water as needed when thirsty – because their kidneys cannot process it. Even foods with liquid have to be monitored – fruit, vegetables etc. I am no expert on what is required to keep alive when on dialysis. I just know, having spoken to some people who are – it reduced me to tears. I said to one person “I don’t think I could live the life you live, year after year, with such limitations on what you can eat/drink. Spending three days a week travelling/hooked up to dialysis, week after week, year after year.  The fact you cannot stray too far away in case that life saving phone call comes”. I felt humbled, and ashamed, when he said “you have no choice – you either want to live or you don’t”!

People ask – why should I donate when the family are not! Very simply, just because they have family, does not mean the family are a match. It is more than just being a compatible blood group. Also a lot of people needing a new kidney is because they have a hereditary illness that causes the kidneys to fail. So family members also can have this. Many reasons why someone, other than family, needs to be the donor.

A question I am sometimes asked is why does someone need a kidney when they have dialysis to replace the kidney?

I have to say I was so guilty of that assumption pre donation!! You see pictures in the media of people on dialysis, and to be honest, so often the person looks very healthy as though dialysis is the perfect solution.  I still feel so guilty when I realise how wrong I was. Dialysis is a life support machine. No more, no less. It helps keep people alive until they can get a new kidney. It does NOT replace a kidney, far from it.

So if the thought ever crosses your mind about donating a kidney to someone – anyone – JUST DO IT! It will also be the most rewarding experience you could have.

Read the links on the left of this page under “Become a Donor” to find out what it is like and what the process is. Any questions, just comment on this post or send me a message via the Contact Page – link at top of this page.

I take a personal interest in anyone who wishes to donate and will stay in contact with them, and support them throughout the whole process.

My only regret about donating, is that I have no spare kidneys left to donate. If I had, I would – in a heart beat. I just pray when my time comes to meet my Maker – that my remaining organs are viable and can go to helping other people.

Please sign the organ donor register.

Please consider donating a kidney to someone during your lifetime. Don’t think your age will be against you – people in their 80’s have donated.

To all reading this who are waiting for an organ transplant, or know someone who is – stay strong! Your time will come.

 

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6 Responses to “Have you considered donating a kidney?”

  • Anna:

    Hello, I am thinking of being a donor to my partners sister. She is only 23 and been on Dialysis for the past 2 years after finding out she had Kidney failure during her second year at Uni studying Law. Her Mum, God Mother and my partner have all been tested to see if they would be a match but so far no luck. Her and I are both the same blood type so it would be silly not to try. The trouble is I have some worries; I want to try for children in a few years and worry this would affect my chances, I understand they would talk me through all the information required but wondered if anyone else knew?
    Also my Mum isn’t really behind me on my decision and worries about me. She feels they are only thinking about their family member and I would be pushed into this. I just wondered if anyone had a suggestion as to how I could show my mum just how much this could change my partners sister’s life.

    Thanks in advance.

    Anna

  • Diane:

    Hi Anna,
    Thanks for posting. Re pregnancy after donating. This is something that is best discussed with the kidney doctor you see. There is nothing stopping you making an appointment just to get information – no committments at all. There are various websites that comment on pregnancy after donation and yes there could be some risks [rare] … emphasis on “could”. But not for me to try and explain them, as I am not medically trained and last thing I want is to give utter rubbish as my response 🙂

    I know a few people who have donating and later had children, no problem. I know it is recomended you wait perhaps 6 months after donating before becoming pregnant. Some say 1 year. Again you do need to discuss this.

    I do not know if this is possible, but you could approach the recipients transplant center and ask for you to remain anonymous but see if you could be tested as a match. It is more than blood test that counts. Apart from you being healthy enough, you have to be a tissue match as well. So not sure if that test could be done? If you are a match then you know it could be worth being evaluated as a donor. If you are not a match then that is it and you can tell them you are not a match.

    I do ask – does she not have other relatives that could be tested first?

    If you can contact me via the Contact link at the top of the page, I can discuss other aspects with you. for anyone reading, this would be personal to Anna, so not anything that should concern the public 🙂 🙂

  • Laurie Feger AKA Jamey's Mom:

    My son received his kidney in July. Although we are the same blood type, my kidney was not the one they wanted. They wanted one from someone his age,his size. Thank god that happened from a friend. He told me of a woman in his group who is close to my age, and has my blood type. I made the call today. I told the transplant coordinator I am willing to give mine to a stranger. I know what it’s like to cry myself to sleep, hoping for a kidney for my son. The fear the family goes through is so draining. Bless you Diane! Jamey’s mom, Laurie

  • Diane:

    Hi Laurie [gives a big wave 🙂 ]
    I am so pleased your son has had his kidney. I hope his health is so much better now.

    And a big, huge “well done” to you for wanting to save another mum from the pain you went through. I cannot imagine what it must be like to know your child (no matter what age) is in need of an organ and the wait just goes on and on …. unbearable. So it is wonderful that even though your son now has his kidney, you want to help some other family from having to go through what you all went through. Cannot think of a better reason for helping.

    So thank you so much.

    If you have any questions about donating, please just post, or if you would prefer a one-to-one, then use the contact form link, top right of the page, and an email will get to me and I can then email with you direct.

    Good luck on your quest – and somewhere out there, is a family similar to yours, a mum, dad, perhaps siblings, all laying awake at night praying for a kidney for their loved one. Little do they know, there is an Angel around the corner who will help them 🙂
    All the best
    xxx
    Di

  • Michael:

    Hi Di

    Happy New Year to you.

    Can I write to you without it being published?

    Michael

  • Diane:

    Hi Michael, Yes of course, top right of any page, use the Contact link – it will send email directly to my inbox

    Happy new Year to you also 🙂
    Di

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