Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In Pursuit of a Living Kidney Transplant

When someone in need of a kidney transplant is instructed to “find a living donor”, one of their first thoughts is, “how am I going to ask someone to donate a kidney to me?”

In reality, most living donors say they volunteered to donate once they heard about their family member or friend’s need. Health care professionals need to advise their patients: rather than “ask" someone to donate, just let people know about your situation. Although it’s a subtle difference, it could have a significant impact on your willingness and state of mind to let people know about your need.

Once armed with knowledge about living kidney donation, you’ll then need to effectively communicate your need and the information you’ve learned. If you have initial unease discussing the subject, then practice and rehearse what you want to say with a confidante such as a family member or friend who can also become an advocate on your behalf. Advocates are often the ones to educate the person who ends up being your donor.

Letting people know about your need for a kidney transplant may at first seem overwhelming. However, once you get started it’s often not as difficult as you might imagine. Develop a plan and start slowly. The more people you speak to, the easier it will get and the greater your chances will become of a donor finding you. Donors often come from the most unlikely connections, and as such, reach out to everyone you know. As a final word of encouragement, in the U.S. there are more than 16 successful living kidney transplants performed every day…perhaps the next one will be yours!

Harvey Mysel is a kidney transplant recipient and Founder of the Living Kidney Donors Network, a nonprofit 501(c)3 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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