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Celebrating Life and Hope on World Kidney Day 2024: A Closer Look at Kidney Transplants and Emphasizing Living Donation

World Kidney Day is a global health awareness campaign that aims to shine a spotlight on the importance of our kidneys and the need to protect them. It is a day dedicated to raising awareness about the significant role our kidneys play in our overall health and the prevalence of kidney disease worldwide.

In honor of World Kidney Day, The Transplant Institute at Methodist Dallas Medical Center is joining the conversation to raise awareness about kidney disease and transplant, with focus on living kidney donation.

Kidney Disease Impact

Currently, chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end stage renal disease (ESRD) affects approximately 850 million people globally and is one of the top ten leading causes of death. For many people suffering from CKD or ESRD, a kidney transplant becomes their only option for significant health and quality of life improvement.

Kidney Transplant and Living Kidney Donation

The shortage of available kidneys for transplant is a continuing issue. With such a large impact on global health, we believe one of the ways we can contribute is through ongoing efforts that call attention to the life-saving gift of living kidney donation.

Why is living kidney donation important?

A living kidney donation occurs when a living person donates one of their kidneys to someone in need of a transplant. This act of giving not only provides a second chance at life for those fighting kidney disease but also has several benefits over deceased donation. These include better long-term survival rates, shorter waiting times, and the ability to schedule surgery at a convenient time for both the donor and the recipient.

People suffering with chronic kidney disease typically require dialysis treatments as their kidneys are no longer able to perform their vital functions, such as filtering blood. While it’s possible to live 10 to 20 years on dialysis, a person's quality of life can be significantly impacted by the many hours each week required for dialysis.

Living kidney donation can free a person from facing a lifetime of dialysis treatments.

How to become a living kidney donor

Becoming a living donor is a profound decision that requires careful consideration and understanding. It involves a comprehensive health evaluation and preparation process. However, the reward of knowing that you have made a significant, direct impact on the life of another person is immeasurable.

While it’s true that most people who choose to become a living kidney donor are related to or know the recipient (directed donation), it is not uncommon for people to make an anonymous, altruistic kidney donation to an unknown recipient.

The first step for those interested in living kidney donation is to educate yourself about the process, understand the risks and learn the outcomes of kidney donation. The best way to do this is by contacting a reputable kidney transplant program, like the one we offer at The Transplant Institute at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

(If you are making a directed donation, contact the recipient’s transplant program).

Our transplant team members are eager to discuss the application and evaluation process as well as connect you with an Independent Living Donor Advocate (ILDA) who will help you navigate these first steps and beyond.

To learn more about the process, we invite you to watch this Living Kidney Donor Transplant Education Video

Other Ways to Spread Awareness- Beyond Living Donation

How can we, as a community, contribute if we aren't able to become living donors ourselves? By spreading awareness. Talk about kidney health, educate others about living donation, and encourage conversations about organ donation within your circles. You never know whose life you might touch with this information.

Moreover, let's use this day to remind ourselves of the importance of maintaining our kidney health. Regular check-ups, a balanced diet, adequate hydration, and an active lifestyle can all contribute to keeping our kidneys healthy.

As we commemorate World Kidney Day, let's work together to spread the message far and wide: living donation is a viable option that can save lives. By doing so, we can encourage more individuals to consider becoming living donors, thereby giving hope to those waiting for a kidney transplant. Let's celebrate life, hope, and the power of giving this World Kidney Day.