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Kidney Donor Needed

By on March 30, 2014 in Health with 1 Comment

Hemingway FlowersHave you ever received an email that left you in shock? Did you want to believe maybe, just maybe it was spam? And yet, you knew that was only wishful thinking. I recently received one of those emails.

When I was a child, our cousins and friends would spend endless hours in our backyard pool. The adults would BBQ, while us kids played Marco Polo, jumped/dove off the diving board, raced each other and goofed around. My second cousins, Scott and Jason, were frequent visitors who engaged in these silly pool games with my sisters and I. Their parents divorced. Arthur, their father, moved to San Francisco, where he remarried Lisa. My cousins, Scott and Jason eventually moved to the west coast, where they started their families. The shocking email I received was from Lisa.

“Hi, Please take the time to read this letter from my son, Noah, who is rapidly approaching kidney failure and is in need of a kidney transplant. Without a transplant, he will be forced to start dialysis very soon, which he desperately wants to avoid. The benefits from receiving a kidney from a living donor are far greater than receiving one from a deceased donor. Unfortunately, due to my own health issues, I have been disqualified. We are hoping after you read his story, you can forward it to your contacts and therefore, many people will be able to share this and keep it going. Thank you. Best, Lisa”

Noah Cooper in Search of a Living Kidney Donor

“Dear Friends, This has been extremely hard for me to put into words, but at this time, I have to turn to others for help. My kidneys are failing and my best option is to find a living, healthy donor. I am only 40 years old and have so much life to live, so many years ahead with my two sons and so many experiences to share with my family. Please take a minute to read my story. It’s possible that you or someone you know could help save my life.

I have Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), which is the most common life-threatening genetic disease. This disease has caused fluid cysts to engulf both of my kidneys and has dramatically decreased my kidney function. My father, aunts, and cousins have all suffered from this terrible disease, which prevents them from being potential donors. I live with chronic pain and increasing fatigue. My doctors have told me that if I do not find a living donor by this summer, I will have to start dialysis in order to survive.

Dialysis is a life-support system when your kidneys can no longer function enough to take care of your body’s needs. This can cause many life threatening health issues on its own. The average wait time for a deceased donor is five years. There are currently 120,000 people waiting for a kidney donor and 18 people die a day; just waiting.

However, through living donation, someone can donate one of their own kidneys and continue to live a normal, healthy life. The truth is that people don’t actually need two kidneys; one kidney can do the work of two. There are many significant benefits of having a living donor because the kidney will last twice as long as that of a deceased donor. Most transplants from a living donor have very fast and positive results. There is also a strong psychological advantage since the recipient is often getting this gift from a family member, loved one, or even from a complete stranger.

It is important that the donor is healthy with no history of high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer or obesity. The testing process is very thorough for the donor; you will go through a variety of tests to determine if you are qualified to be a potential donor. All medical expenses will be covered by my insurance.

If it is not possible for you, you can still help me find a donor. You can help me spread the word by contacting your friends and acquaintances; in person, by phone, Facebook, or taking the time to forward this letter to any organizations, or any groups you are a part of. The larger the circle you help me draw, the better my chances are at finding one person who will make a difference and save my life. 

Donor screening is anonymous and can be done by contacting the transplant coordinator, Kristen Pelletier, at Brigham and Women’s Hospitalbwhkidneydonorinfo@partners.org. Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions at 408-797-4503, nrcchef@hotmail.com or www.facebook.com/NoahCooperLivingKidneyDonor. I have listed some websites below that can provide further information. Thank you very much for taking the time to read my letter. Noah  www.kidney.org    www.transplantliving.org   www.livingdonorsonline.org

 A million thoughts ran through my mind as I read the letter. First, could I do it? I thought about my childhood and how I got really high temperatures. I think they were related to my own kidneys, which I assume are healthy now. But then I realized I wouldn’t qualify. ‘He’s only 40. That’s two years older than me. He has two kids. What a sin.’ Then I went into disbelief. ‘Maybe this is spam.’ But, I knew it wasn’t.

I called my mom to get more information. My mind was racing, so I asked if they could buy a kidney. My mom said, “that’s illegal.” Simultaneously, I answered my own question, “Oh… that would a black market activity.” I thought about the chain letters I received as a kid where medical students would drug party goers, remove their kidneys and other organs, and leave their victims in a bathtub filled with ice.

I established the email was absolutely real, as I had gotten a little more insight into the situation. My mind then began to process the information in a more rational manner. I asked myself, ‘How can I help?’

I went online to see what information was out there. I learned that people donate a kidney for altruistic reasons. I learned that kidney donors tend to live longer than non-kidney donors. There is speculation as to whether this is because kidney donors have to be in excellent health or if it is good karma. I learned finding kidney donors is very, very difficult, and very, very necessary.

Reading Lisa’s email made me realize how oblivious we as a society can be. There are so many ways we could help each other, and yet, we are so unaware. I thought to myself, ‘I am an organ donor, right?’ But, I had to go back to double check my license. Yes, I had checked the box so many years ago. Yet, I did not remember. Sad, but true.

I decided I would help by getting the word out there. I went to Lisa’s Facebook page to see if she had any posts I could re-post. I went to Noah’s page. I shared one of Lisa’s post on my Facebook page to the public. Now, I am writing this blog.

If you have ever thought of making a difference in the life of a stranger, you can. If you have ever thought about donating a kidney, please visit  Noah’s Facebook page.

Here’s your chance to make a difference.

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  1. Ronny Kassler says:

    Thanks for your post here.

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