Donating for a Better Life

I’m going to get a little personal and share something that’s been on my mind and tugging at my heartstrings.  

We live in a world that has seen much advancement in technology.  The Internet is our “go to” every day. For most of us, it’s the first thing we do in the morning, check our email, surf the Web, and see what others have said on Facebook.

We share snippets of our lives on our blogs, via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media avenues.  Finding out information is quick and relatively easy.  Sharing can be highly personal and puts you out there for the world to see.  At times, it’s a little overwhelming, but for the most part, highly entertaining and amazing that so many friends can be made along the way.

I find it easy to share my DIY adventures, but find it difficult to talk about me… on a personal level.  I recently read that most of us are extroverts while online, but in real life we are really introverts.  The web allows us to put things out there and not be so afraid of what people will think.

So you’re wondering what’s been tugging at my heartstrings. 
Organ Donation.
I know.  It’s a heavy topic.  Giving of oneself.
Why is it so important to me?

My family is affected by a genetic disease called Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD).  More people than you think have it.  It’s a disease that causes cysts to grown on the kidney degrading its function.  We need our kidneys to filter out all the nasty stuff that makes its way through our bodies.  Good-bye toxins!

I was born with it and didn’t know I had it until I entered college. A routine physical identified something was amiss.  I am very lucky for a very detailed doctor.

For the most part, my life has been normal, except that now I see how this genetic disease takes its toll on my family.

I have the form that was inherited and it was passed down from my father.  He didn’t know that he had it until he was in his 50’s.  He too for the most part, led a normal healthy life.

It wasn’t until he was in his 60’s that he had to go on dialysis.  It’s no walk in the park and he’s on multiple organ transplant lists at university hospitals in NY, NJ and PA waiting to receive a kidney from someone who has died, passed on, who was willing to give once their life was complete.

It’s amazing.  It’s a blessing to think that someone would be willing to give of him or herself in that way.

What is tugging at my heart even more is this.  With all the advancements in medicine, we now live in a time where live organ donation is a reality.  Want to hear something more amazing?  Matches are found via Facebook, blogs, forums, and all the places that we share and open up ourselves to.

I’m giddy with excitement every time I see that someone has found their match and undergoes a successful live organ donation.  What a great time in our lives to witness this.  True Love.

I’m not going to share all the statistics around kidney disease, organ donation, etc., but I ask that you be aware.  Think about it.  Relish in the reality that we can help one another in ways that were not possible before.   

I think of this analogy all the time.  My grandfather had cancer when I was young and my family would have done anything to help him, to give him something so he could live longer. 

In the case of kidney disease, we have that chance; we have the ability to give, to help our family, friends and fellow human beings live a more normal life.

Thanks for letting me share.

Update 3/19/13: The day I posted this I received wonderful news that a friend of mine, who recently went on dialysis for PKD, had found her match via a paired living donor.  She is scheduled for a kidney transplant in April.  She religiously spread the word about the need for donors and created a Facebook page sharing her story.  This proves that there is HOPE, that there is LOVE and that we do live in an amazing time where this can happen with the help of social networking.  Please share our story so that others can be educated about all forms of organ donation.

Below are some links if you would like more information on our particular kidney disease and kidney transplants.