What are living donor champions? They are friends and family members of someone who needs a transplant who learn how to effectively spread the word to potential donors. Let’s say you know someone who needs a kidney, but they’re uncomfortable for any number of reasons about coming out and asking someone they know–much less someone they don’t know–to donate one of their kidneys.
Back in 2004 when we first learned that my son would need a transplant, the idea of asking someone if they would donate their kidney was beyond awkward. (People who have trouble asking for a ride to the airport don’t even know where to begin to ask for a bodily organ!) Though social media existed then, it was mostly a social thing for teens and 20-somethings–hardly a vehicle for something like life-saving/life-changing requests. Fast forward to 2019: Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms have changed the whole donation landscape, which dovetails perfectly with living donor champion efforts.
Betsy Crais, my co-author (The Greatest Gift: The Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation), and I are going to speak at a few such programs over the coming months. We’ll start with one this weekend at the University of North Carolina’s kidney transplant center. That’s only fitting, because it’s where I donated a kidney to my son, and where Betsy received hers from a UNC colleague. We’re going to tell our stories and take questions from attendees.
I’m so looking forward to it. Watch for a post on the event!