Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Answer to Increasing the Number of Kidney Transplants is Right Under Our Noses

Welcome to my Blog. If you are in need, or are helping someone who needs a kidney transplant, I hope you will learn more about how to pursue a successful living kidney donations through these blogs. I established the Living Kidney Donors Network after recognizing the need for better resources when I was pursuing a successful living kidney transplant in 2007. My purpose is to share the knowledge I acquired and help you build the confidence so you can realize the life changing benefits of a transplant from a living donor. Solutions are in everyone’s grasp.

The good news is that there are 6,000 living kidney transplants performed every year…that’s means there are more than 16 people a day, 7 days a week receiving a kidney from a living donor. Understanding why these people choose to donate, and how they found out about the recipient’s need, could be the answer to solving the shortage of available kidneys.

Hospital transplant programs inform their patients about the importance of finding a living donor. Most patients don’t have any idea how to even start the conversation with family or friends. The fear of asking someone to donate is the number one reason given for not pursuing living donation. In truth, patients rarely need to ask directly. Most living donors say they volunteered to donate once they heard about their family member or friend’s need. When kidney patients realize that they do not have to ask directly, they become more comfortable in discussing their situation openly with everyone they know – exponentially increasing their chances of finding a living donor.

It is critical to develop better education and communication programs to help kidney patients spread the word about their need for a transplant. We must also educate the public about the need for living donors, and the process of donation. Having accurate and detailed information makes a person more likely to become a donor when they hear that a friend or family member is in need.

Increasing the number of living kidney donors is the only way to reduce the current 5+ year wait for a kidney transplant, and eventually eliminating the waiting list altogether. The solution is “right under our noses.” I believe that educational programs for people who need a kidney transplant and a public awareness campaigns about living kidney donation will increase the number of living kidney transplants.

When surveyed after the transplant, living donors are quick to respond that they would donate again, without hesitation. They are happy with the decision they made, and say they feel a unique kind of pride and contentment - seeing firsthand what a profound impact their gift has had on another human being. A joy that confirms that it is better to give than receive.

Future blogs will focus on helping to educate you about the living donation process and helping you to become more comfortable about speaking to family and friends about your need.

Harvey Mysel is a kidney transplant recipient and Founder of the Living Kidney Donors Network, a nonprofit organization that offers Workshops to educate people in need of a kidney transplant about living kidney donation and helps prepare them to effectively communicate their need to family members and friends. The Living Kidney Donors Network website is: and Harvey could be reached at:

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