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New Approach for Living Kidney Donation That Saves Lives

Harvey Mysel-Living Kidney Donors Network

There are many common truths that those waiting for a kidney transplant know and one truth that many don’t know about — the power of telling their story.

Developing and sharing their story results in those waiting for a kidney to have their donor step forward and inquire how they could help.

Many donors learn about their recipients’ needs from a family member or friend as they share their stories.

Building this network of storytellers is the difference between life and death since 95% of Americans who receive a kidney from a living donor either knew or had a connection to their donor through a “community.” Living donors often say, “my recipient didn’t ask me to donate, I learned about their situation and I wanted to learn more about how I could help.”

Kidneys for Communities’ mission of connecting individuals who want to help those in need through membership-based associations follows this proven method for success. This new national community-directed solution streamlines this process by educating organizations’ leadership and members associated through a common affiliation — the power of community.

To an outsider, this appears to be an out-of-the-box approach to expand the pool of living kidney donors, but this is how thousands have had a successful living kidney transplant.

The Living Kidney Donors Network developed a free online program, Having Your Donor Find YOU! that has helped hundreds through the transplant process. One of the first steps we tell patients is to reach out to their communities. If they were in a collegiate fraternity or sorority, reach out to their college chapter. If they were a former police officer, start talking to the National Police Association. Get the word out to those who share a common connection.

There are many benefits of a kidney from a living donor versus one from a deceased donor: when you have a living donor, there is no need to wait the 5-10 years for a deceased donor and a kidney from a living donor lasts, on average, twice as long as one from a deceased donor.

With more than 90,000 people on the kidney transplant waiting list and over 500,000 on kidney dialysis, there’s an urgent need for a kidney transplant. We need solutions that support growing the living kidney donor pool.

About the Guest Blog Author: Harvey Mysel, a two-time living kidney transplant recipient and the founder of the not-for-profit Living Kidney Donors Network (LKDN) and Having Your Donor Find You! Mysel has been helping kidney patients for over a decade by giving workshops at transplant centers and dialysis clinics. This experience has provided him with a unique perspective and a deep understanding of how recipients find donors.

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