Profiles in Community: DOVE

How community-directed donation is being used at DOVE to save Veterans’ lives

Kidneys for Communities didn’t invent the idea of “community-directed donation.”

In fact, community members donating to other community members has been around for a long time, albeit in very focused and often one-off instances. You probably have seen local news stories of a sorority sister donating to a fellow sister, or a firefighter donating to another firefighter.

We at Kidneys for Communities are simply building on these successes on a national level because community-directed donation works.

The Donor Outreach for Veterans, Corp. (DOVE) is a great example of community members helping fellow community members.

Founded by a group of dedicated transplant professionals, DOVE’s mission is to improve access to live kidney donation and transplants among the military community, specifically. The work DOVE does is absolutely critical for so many Veterans across the country.

Did you know that there are currently around 2,000 U.S. Veterans waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant at a VA Center or Military Hospital? These service members will often wait as long as 5-7 years before receiving their kidney donation, making dialysis the only option for survival.

Enter DOVE.

In February 2021, DOVE launched, with the support of Military Times, a year-long outreach campaign to match kidney donors and recipients within the Veteran community. Highlighting an incredible act of generosity and fellowship, DOVE helped Army Veteran Jon Wayne Taylor donate his kidney to a fellow Veteran in need of a transplant.

Through the concept of community-directed donation, DOVE is expanding the pool of living kidney donors and saving more Veterans’ lives. It’s because communities inherently take care of each other, and that’s especially true with Veterans.

“Communities can and will make a huge difference,” said Sharyn Kreitzer, MSW Director, CEO at DOVE. “Enabling donors, who may or may not be Veterans, to personalize their kidney donation to benefit a Veteran opens up opportunities for those who never considered a donation.”

Recently, more than 50 potential living kidney donors answered to support Army Veteran Damon Hewin, an active duty police officer, in need of a kidney transplant. While fellow police officer Jon Postawa is donating to Hewin, the many interested donors who stepped up to help will not be lost. Two other donors, who came forward for Hewin, will be matched with other Veterans.

This is why Kidneys for Communities exists—because we believe in the power of community and compassion. To learn more about how we tap into community-directed donation to save lives, read our story here. To learn more about DOVE, read about it here.

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