A Primer on Kidney Donation Through Silent Sports
A KIDNEY DONATION JOURNEY
I’m writing this to ask everyone who reads this for help in our desire to help save lives, one person at a time, by sharing what we’ve learned about kidney donations and transplants.
The Personal Story, of Real People in Need
When I donated on September 30th, 2020, at UW-Madison, I named as my voucher recipient a man from Louisiana that we had met last winter — a stranger. This moved him up on the wait-list to immediately receive a kidney as soon as an acceptable match is found. Since then, my wife, Lynn, has decided to become a living kidney donor as well.
My actual kidney went to a person in dire need in New York, someone who was the best tissue match available in the country at the time of my donation. This caused a double benefit: Ensuring that both of “my” recipients will get the best-matched kidneys available, and sooner rather than later, which is a big deal when considering rejection possibilities and wait-lists. My single donation has possibly saved 2 lives or, in the minimum, changed both lives considerably toward much more positive lifestyles.
Lynn is scheduled to have her donation surgery in late March or early April 2021.
The Silent Sports Story
Dispelling Myths & Making the Truth Known
Lynn and I decided to do the April 24th, 2021, 1500-Mile Kidney Donor Awareness Bicycle Ride from Wisconsin to Louisiana to share what we have learned from our kidney donation experiences, dispelling myths and outdated information, answering questions, or leading people to reputable sources for answers about kidney donations. I ride the bike; Lynn is my ground support. I’m not sure who got the short end of the stick on this deal, but we make it work. We’ve done similar rides for fun and she’s attended many of my ultra-endurance mountain and fat bike bike races, so she knows how to handle things. We wanted to prove that living donors can return to their normal lifestyle after donation, even if that lifestyle included vigorous, sustained physical activity.
I wanted to do this ride in large part to bring this all to the attention of my network of silent sports enthusiasts and explode it beyond my circle of friends. This national community of healthy people could easily survive and flourish on one kidney after saving another person’s life by sharing a kidney, if they only knew some details. Lynn and I felt we could influence, and help others influence, untold numbers of lives being saved by doing these rides by sharing information, creating awareness, and letting people know about the great need for living donors.
What We Now Know; What Must Be Shared With You
• 13 people die every day in the United States due to a lack of donors/transplants. Most of these people die after years of spending hours every day on dialysis, which is considered by many a slow march to death. They almost all have to quit working, becoming very financially burdened, are so fatigued and run down that their lifestyle is a shadow of what we’d consider normal, not to mention the hours taken out of their lives while on dialysis and the many complications to travel, overnight stays, etc. Many of us can only imagine how impacted our lives would be by these restrictions.
• Only 3 in 1,000 potential deceased kidney donors die in a way that allows donation.
• If 1 out of every 10,000 people would become a living donor, we could eradicate the waiting list immediately.
• 1 out of every 750 people are born with one kidney, and most never know it, but live a very normal life.
• Living donated kidneys last approximately twice as long as deceased donated kidneys, thereby reducing the number of kidneys needed and the number of times a recipient needs to go through the procedure during the course of their lifetime
- Any donor who registers through the Donor Care Network and donates through the National Kidney Registry will receive prioritization for a living donor kidney in the unlikely case that they need a kidney transplant in the future.
- One does NOT have to be a match nor have a recipient in mind to become a living donor.
- Non-directed living donations allow anyone that feels the urge to donate to do just that, even to a complete stranger that’s 100’s if not 1,000’s of miles away and donate anonymously if desired.
Since the original ride to Louisiana was envisioned and set up, two additional rides are in the works.
Although Lynn and I are accepting requests from anyone to ride a portion of the trail with us, we are not accepting any public donations for the ride. But, if you’d like to donate to organizations that could really use your financial help, there is a list of choices we recommend.
(Link ⇒) Donate
Thank you for your consideration, and please do consider, for others and yourself.