August 2, 2012
In 2007, my step-dad was told that he would need a kidney transplant. Many of us were tested as donors but either we were the wrong blood type or had health issues ourselves. In 2008, the transplant hospital told our family about the Alliance for Paired Donation. Kidney paired donation matches one incompatible donor/recipient pair to another pair in the same situation, so that the donor of the first pair gives to the recipient of the second, and vice versa. In other words, the two pairs swap kidneys . So even though I was not the same blood type as my step-dad, through the Alliance for Paired Donation, I might still be able to donate a kidney for him. This gave our family much needed hope. We signed up for the program through the transplant hospital. All the testing I needed to do to determine if I was a viable donor was done through my primary care physician. About 9 months later, we received the long awaited call that there was a match. On August 23, 2009, I flew to Augusta, GA to donate my kidney to a man I had never met. At the same time, his wife flew to Denver, Co to donate her kidney to my step-dad. The surgeries occurred at the exact same time. What a miracle! My kidney has been going strong in it's new home now for 3 years giving a family a new life. Soon after the transplant, I started volunteering for the Alliance for Paired Donation helping others in our situation by directing them to the transplant hospitals that participate in the program. I also was able to share my story and give them first hand experience as to what to expect. Through paired donation, APD is able to shorten the wait for a kidney transplant and offer many families hope.
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