From the Welcome Desk at DPC-October

By Stephen C. Administrative Assistant

Sorry for the confusion, but we have decided to change the title of my monthly articles, because of the great new addition of our guest blogger Lindsey and her blog Stephen’s Journey. Don’t worry I will continue to provide articles each month!

Today, I wanted to share something that caught my eye recently. I was browsing our Facebook page in the morning as I often do to see what’s happening in the kidney community and I came across this article that Jessica posted.
Basically, the article is about how Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was the first military hospital to join the National Kidney Registry, commonly known as NKR. So what’s the NKR? The NKR is a non-profit that helps match donors to kidneys through exchanges. Here are the basics of the exchange program: someone wants to donate their kidney to you but they’re not a match for you. Meanwhile, someone else is in the same situation, but their potential donor matches you and your potential donor matches them. The NKR helps coordinate exchanges like this and can help target donations. Pretty simple, right?

Not always. I was poking around the NKR website and found this article. One man decided to donate a kidney on a whim and this starts a chain reaction, allowing 30 people to get transplants from 30 other people. In sum, that’s 60 people donating and receiving kidneys. What an incredible turn of events! That original donor is a pretty incredible guy as well. He didn’t even know the person he donated to and that random act of kindness brought 30 people off dialysis.
I emailed the article to my mom, thinking I had come across something new that she would find interesting. I had forgotten that my mom had looked into the NKR to donate her kidney to my dad. He ended up not being able to receive any transplants due to other health issues, but I do remember when we found out about NKR. When my mom found out her kidney wasn’t a match, she was devastated. But the NKR gave us hope again. Were it not for those other health problems, the NKR probably would’ve been the way my dad got a new kidney and better yet, it still would’ve been through my mom.

I really hope that this program takes off even more than it has. According to NKR, they have facilitated 544 transplants since 2008, 175 in 2011 alone. According to UNOS, there are 115,928 people waiting for transplants. I am sure there are tons of compatible matches just waiting for exchanges to make transplants happen.

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