Living Kidney Donation
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Kidney transplants are a highly effective option for patients with a wide range of kidney diseases. Patients who receive a kidney transplant may have double the life expectancy as patients on dialysis. But every day more and more patients are added to the waiting list to receive a kidney transplant. Approximately 16,000-17,000 kidney transplants are done each year in this country, but at any one time there are more than 85,000 people waiting to receive a donated kidney.
Caleb Johnson was one of the thousands of people awaiting a donated kidney. Now, his friend and organ donor, Colin, is giving Caleb the gift of a lifetime ─ a healthy kidney.
Caleb Johnson was given a new lease on life on June 13, 2012, when his friend Colin Newton made a life-saving organ donation. Both donor and recipient shared their journey with the world as their surgeries were broadcast live via Twitter. Caleb and Colin participated in this ground-breaking endeavor to raise awareness for living organ donation. By donating one of his kidneys, Colin helped two people--Caleb and the next person on the waiting list.
If you missed the Twittercast of this living organ donation, watch the videos below about Caleb and Colin and then read more at #calebskidney.
Meet Caleb Johnson
An avid hunter and fisherman, Caleb Johnson was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, or FSGS, in April 2011. FSGS is a condition where the millions of tiny filters in the kidney are so badly scarred and damaged that they no longer filter blood properly. Shortly after starting dialysis treatment, Caleb had to quit his job as a manager at a coal gasification plant due to the time and energy requirements of dialysis. Following his surgery, the 31-year-old hopes to travel to places like Yellowstone National Park and to do “some things people my age like to do.” Caleb lives on his farm with his girlfriend in rural southwestern Indiana and is looking forward to his new kidney … and life. Follow him on Twitter @calsjohn.
Meet Colin Newton
Colin Newton and Caleb Johnson have been good friends for more than four years and both live in the same small town of Merom, Indiana. In addition to bettering Caleb’s life, Colin also hopes his donation will encourage himself to eat and exercise better. Colin enjoys hunting and fishing on his property. The 33-year-old is married and has an almost three-year-old daughter.
Messages for Caleb & Colin
Living Donors Save Lives
Due to the number of people waiting to receive a kidney, living kidney donation has become a popular option. Kidney transplants from living donors are generally more successful and usually last longer than a deceased donor kidney. Additionally, a living donor transplant can often be performed prior to the need for dialysis. The kidney donor’s surgery is usually done by a laparoscopic method (minimal incision), resulting in less pain and quicker recovery times.
Living kidney donations can come from a relative, friend or complete stranger. If a donor is donating their kidney to a stranger, called a non-directed donation, the donor’s blood and other test results are used to find a matching kidney recipient. Sometimes a donor’s kidney will go to a stranger as part of a NEAD™ Chain, a system generally initiated when a person waiting for a donation has a willing, but incompatible donor. The NEAD™ Chain (Never Ending Altruistic Donor Chain) matches a non-directed donor to someone in need of a transplant who has a willing but incompatible donor. In turn, the recipient’s incompatible donor, often times a family member or friend, gives a kidney to another person waiting for a transplant, and so on.
Generally, people 18 years or older with two healthy kidneys and general overall good health are eligible to be a living kidney donor. The evaluation process for a potential donor begins with an over-the-phone consultation followed by various health screenings and tests. The entire evaluation process can be completed in as quickly as two to four weeks. The living kidney donor’s medical bills are covered by the recipient’s insurance as part of the transplant costs.
Still, donating a kidney is a big decision and needs to be considered carefully. To find out more about donating a kidney, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800.382.4602.