Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Q & A: Who can donate?

I've fielded some questions lately that made me realize I've done a bad job of explaining some things, so I'm (hopefully) going to start some Q & A posts to help clear things up.

The question today:  Who can Donate?

The information I'm giving is focused specifically on living kidney donation, since that's what I'm seeking.  Here are a few points about living donor kidney transplants before I move on (this is information provided from kidney transplant education I received at Mayo during my evaluation):

  • kidney from someone who is alive and volunteers to donate
  • kidneys tend to work better and last longer
  • planned surgery date
  • shorter waiting time
  • I may be able to avoid dialysis
  • There are many options of this type of donation
Okay, so who can donate?  A person can be considered for donation if they meet the following criteria:
  • Donors need to be 18 years or older
  • You must be in good health.
    • If you've had an significant medial issues (high blood pressure not well controlled, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, liver disease or lung disease) in the past, you may not be able to donate.
    • If you're a smoker, heavy drinker or obese, you may not be able to donate.  If you're overweight you may be asked to lose weight before you can donate
    • Good mental and emotional health are a must as well.  The evaluation team will interview you and may ask how you manage stressful situations.
  • Blood type
    • It would be ideal if my donor were O+, but it isn't exactly a deal-breaker if you're not
  • Not pregnant 
    • If you've recently had a baby or are interested in becoming pregnant in the future, let the team know that
  • Normal kidney function
    • You'll need to ask the donor team what is considered normal kidney function, and they'll test it as part of the evaluation process.
  • Access to caregivers during recovery
  • Willing to have follow-up care either at Mayo Clinic or with your local health care provider
  • A desire to donate
If you don't meet the above criteria, you may not be able to donate, but even that's not set in stone.  For example, there are things you can do in regards to controlling your sugars or blood pressure.  At the time of testing, you may not meet the criteria, but a little work could make you eligible in the future.

Here is the contact info if you would like to talk to someone at Mayo Clinic, or want to ask some questions:

Mayo Clinic Living Donor Info
Phone:  866-227-1569
Monday-Friday:  8am - 5pm
Please let them know that you're calling in the hopes of being a donor for Jennifer Trunk.

Even when I read this post, it still seems complicated, and it is, but I'm here to help explain the process.  I NEED more people to step up to volunteer to donate for me, and that's only going to happen if I get the word out.  I'd really love it if you could share these posts on any social media platform that you use.  There are so many stories of people volunteering to donate a kidney because of a post they saw on Facebook.  I've got to use any option that's available to me, and I could really use your help.  Thanks so much!!!

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