Selena Gomez: Are You Vaccinated?

I trust that you are because you’ve spoken out against COVID vaccine misinformation. In the winter, I wrote about the importance of everyone getting vaccinated, particularly transplant recipients like Stevie Wonder, Selena Gomez–and my son.

In the spring, we learned that organ recipients, who must take immunosuppressants to keep their body from rejecting the gifted organ, do not get nearly as much protection (sometimes none) from the vaccine. That certainly does NOT mean transplant recipients shouldn’t get the vaccine–it’s safe, not a live virus, and any protection against COVID is worth a jab or two or three. But their vulnerability makes it even more important that the rest of us do get fully vaccinated.

Now that the Pfizer vaccine has full FDA approval, and it’s in the works for other vaccines, we can hope that more people who were hesitant will get their jab–for their own protection and for their loved ones and yours and mine.

Selena, Stevie: hearing important COVID vaccine information from you just might make the difference. Please continue to try!

For related posts and information on my new book, The Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation, be sure to explore the rest of my website.

Celebrity Kidney Recipients: Please Share Your Stories!

They’re athletes, actors, and musicians of different ages, races, and ethnicities. So, what do the celebrities listed below have in common? They’re all healthier, and very likely happier, because a living kidney donor gave them a shot at a better quality of life. The best way to shorten someone’s wait for an organ–rich or poor, famous or not–is to find a living donor. Sometimes it’s a biological family member who steps up–sometimes it’s a future or former partner. And sometimes it’s a Good Samaritan, who chooses to donate to an unknown person in need.

Fortunately, some of these famous live-kidney transplant recipients have become spokespersons for National Kidney Foundation campaigns, and some, like former NBA star Alonzo Mourning, comic George Lopez, and former NFL star John Brockington have gone so far as to launch their own kidney disease awareness foundations. (Did you know that my dear WELD [Women Encouraging Living Donation] started as an offshoot of the John Brockington Foundation before joining forces with Donate Life?)

Other celebrities have individually turned to the media to share their personal transplant experiences. Singer Selena Gomez and her donor, actress Francia Raisa, gave several helpful major interviews in 2019 about Gomez’s transplant, shedding light on the donation process and the aftermath. And actress Sarah Hyland candidly shared details of her two kidney transplants, first from her father and most recently from her brother, and of her struggles with depression.

Even though chronic kidney disease is more common than breast cancer or prostate cancer, the general public knows very little about it. If more celebrities who’ve been touched by kidney disease and transplant would openly talk about their life-changing stories, it could encourage more people to have their kidneys checked, register as organ donors, and even consider being living donors. All those actions would go a long way toward reducing the years-long wait for a kidney and ultimately saving more lives. By the way, celebrity status and money offer no privileges on the national waiting lists for a deceased donor.

How many of these celebrities did you know had had kidney transplants (the year of their transplant is next to each name)?

Stevie Wonder 2019

Ed Kranepool 2019

Selena Gomez  2017

Tina Turner 2017

Sarah Hyland 2012 and 2017

Tracy Morgan 2010

George Lopez 2005

Alonzo Mourning 2003

John Brockington 2002

Sean Elliott 1999

 I wish them all continued good health with their adopted kidney. My son has had more than 14 years with his (that is, mine).