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Jim Urtel

Put your kidney where your heart is… consider becoming a living kidney donor for someone in need.

Jim Urtel thought he was grappling with a bout of bronchitis one evening, in 2012 when he was struggling to breathe. Seeking relief, he headed to the emergency room, only to be met with a shocking revelation: he was in kidney failure. 

About Jim Urtel

Jim's diagnosis changed his life forever. Everything from his job, hobbies, daily routines was altered and bound him to the routine of a dialysis machine.

However, after 8 years of dialysis, on July 4th, 2020, Jim received news that he was going to get a kidney transplant from a deceased donor. What was initially supposed to be good news became deeply disheartening when the new kidney didn't function as his medical team had hoped. As of current, his kidney could last one week or one month or one year, the doctors don’t know but what they do know is that Jim will need a kidney transplant, soon. 

Before Jim was diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), he and his father trained racehorses that were often abandoned because of lameness or other problems. Their shared passion was to offer these horses a second chance at life. Jim spent a lot of time ensuring their well-being by mending their injuries and changing their diet and training habits to bring them back to the racecourse to win! However, the constraints of ESKD and the medications required have since kept Jim away from horses.

Jim reflects, "The horses, I miss them immensely, that's for sure. There are days when I would go to them, and even though they don't talk back, they listen. There are things easier to share with them than with people. I remember many nights spent walking them around, returning to them at night, and just being with them. I truly miss that. There's a unique bond you develop with a horse."

Apart from his love for horses, Jim turned to a fitness regimen as a lifeline ensuring that his health is at its best when he finds a living kidney donor. Despite the setbacks, such as side effects from medications and physical limitations due to his medical condition, Jim has stayed committed. He adapted the his program to fit his health needs and physician requirements.  His dedication led him to lose over 50 pounds. Jim not only transformed his body but also his mindset Jim is taking things day by day and doing the best he can while he actively waits for a life-saving kidney donor.

If you've ever thought about making a life-altering difference in someone's life, consider taking the initial step to see if you can donate. Your decision would give Jim that second chance at life.

To learn more about Jim, watch this NBC interview. Don't forget to share Jim's NBC story with your network to help him find a living kidney donor.


How does kidney donation work?

A donor doesn’t need to be an exact match. In fact, because of the Nobel Prize-winning paired kidney exchange program, your kidney donation will not only save one life, but it will save several more in the chain.

Living kidney donation is safe, and all costs associated with your donation are covered. Living donor kidneys also last much longer than deceased donor kidneys. A deceased donor kidney transplant, on average, lasts 10-15 years while a living donor transplant lasts 12-20 years.

Kidneys for Communities® Donor Benefits

Donating a kidney is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling acts someone can do.

Kidneys for Communities can help you through the process to help save a life, but we know there are many obstacles that can be prohibitive to the donor. At Kidneys for Communities, we take care of our donors with the industry’s most complete donor benefits package:

Onboarding and education

Personalized guidance through the donation process


Cost reimbursements:

Travel, food & lodging, lost wages, child, pet and adult care

Future Kidney Pledge for donor and family

No cost

Commitment of a kidney for a patient in the community

Thank you, and we hope you consider this
life-saving act of generosity.

View more community members in need of a life saving kidney