March is Kidney Awareness Month. 💚
It might not mean much to you, but it holds great significance for me. For years my family has suffered from Kidney Disease – more specifically PKD OR Polycystic Kidney Disease. Growing up, I thought it was isolated to my paternal grandmother, but fast forward to today, this disease has affected my father and two of his four siblings. All three having had or approaching the need for a kidney transplant. If that is not scary enough, it is still unknown whether this gene has been passed on to myself, my siblings, my cousins or our children.
It is devastating to watch this disease take an otherwise healthy and energetic person and turn them into someone who struggles for the energy to perform normal activities of daily living.
My dad (and his siblings) have struggled for years, and as those years pass, the fight intensifies. Today, my dad awaits a much needed kidney transplant. One would think that because he has a willing donor that it would be an easy process. It is not. While his donor (his loving wife) wants to donate to him, she is not a direct match. About a year ago they began the process to be placed on a paired kidney exchange program. Essentially, when a kidney match is found for my dad, she will donate her kidney to an awaiting recipient.
Sounds easy enough, right?
Well, we’ve gone through two potential rounds of pre-qualifying draws and on both occasions, no match was available for him. It is such an emotional roller coaster. The fear, anticipation, hope frustration, despair…
He continues to wait, but not without a cost. He is operating at less than 15% kidney function and every day that passes puts him at increased risk of kidney failure. My hope is that a match is found quickly so that he avoids dialysis. Dialysis, while life saving, comes with its own risks and set backs.
So why am I writing this? Well, in addition to advocating for PKD and Kidney Awareness month, I am writing to ask for your help.
What can you do to help you ask? Sign your organ donation card. Or better yet – go online to officially register your organ donation. So many people are in need of vital organs. Vital organs that we will have no use for once we die. You have no idea the difference you can make by taking two minutes (it literally only takes that long), to register your organ donation online.
Be a donor. Save a life.