I received my life-saving donation from my friend Jessica on August 6, 2021, and my new kidney is a rockstar! I'm so grateful for Jessica and her willingness to donate. If you are still interested in becoming a living donor, continue on! There are so many others, like me, waiting for their life-saving donor!
My name is Brittany, and I suffer from Polycystic Kidney Disease. I was diagnosed when I was 11 years old when I had terrible headaches. At the doctor, my blood pressure read 184/132! It was very scary for a young girl. I was immediately admitted for testing, and my PKD was discovered.
I am currently 36 years old and passionate about many things in my life. I am a follower of Jesus who loves family, friends, my pups, the beach, Georgia football, coffee and Mexican food. I enjoy cooking and entertaining in my home, traveling, going to concerts and hanging out with my cute nephew and niece...among many other things. I am a fan of all sports teams from the State of Georgia which is often a source of disappointment. ;-)
My PKD has progressed to the point that I am in Stage 4 of End Stage Renal Disease with only about 20% kidney function. I am on the transplant list at UAB and currently not on dialysis. Daily, my PKD affects my life in several ways. I have to carefully monitor my diet - especially my protein, potassium and sodium intake. I also often have low energy, kidney pain and joint pain. I visit the doctor for blood work monthly.
I call myself in "prevent mode" because I would like to prevent the need for dialysis in the future altogether. I am working to do this by living a healthy, kidney-friendly lifestyle but also by proactively searching for a living kidney donor.
A living kidney donor would mean so much for my future! I am still (relatively) young and healthy, and I hope to have a long, fulfilling life ahead! My doctor says that a kidney from a living donor would give me the best chance to manage my disease for the rest of my life.
There are close to 100,000 people in the U.S. waiting for a kidney, but the number of available kidneys from deceased donors each year is only about 12,000! Kidneys from living donors are often the better choice for many reasons. The wait time for a kidney from the list in the Southeast is around 5-8 years. A living donor and the recipient would be able to schedule the transplant at a convenient time for each of them. A living donor kidney is often ready to function in the recipient's body much sooner than a deceased donor kidney. A living donor kidney will also often "last longer" in the recipient's body (years longer) and has a smaller possibility of rejection because of the thorough matching process.
What most people don't know is that you can live a perfectly healthy life with just one kidney! And the procedure for living donors is laparoscopic. Most donors are discharged from the hospital within a couple of days and return to work quickly (if physical demands for work are low). Most return to normal activities within 4-6 weeks. My insurance covers the evaluation, surgery and hospital costs for my living donor.
I would be honored if you would consider donating your kidney and/or sharing this post to help me get the word out that I am looking for a kidney! That would mean so much to me! You can find out more and determine the next steps for possible kidney donation by completing Step 1 above. Even if you are not a match for me, you may be the life-saving donor for one of the lovely people I have met through this process. Thank you so much for your time reading this and sharing my story.
If you are considering being a living donor please use links below to contact Brittany Shepard's Transplant Center. Begin by completing the donor questionnaire
There are currently 120,000 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant in the U.S. Of these, 100,000 await kidney transplants.
The median wait time for a kidney transplant is 3-5 years and can vary depending on health, compatibility, and where you live.
In 2014, 17,107 kidney transplants took place in the U.S. Of these, 11,570 came from deceased donors and 5,537 came from living donors.
Every 14 minutes someone is added to the kidney transplant waitlist.
A kidney from a living donor lasts longer and begins functioning more quickly than a kidney from a deceased donor.
In 1995, kidney donation became minimally invasive with a procedure called laparoscopic nephrectomy, which only requires four small incisions. Hospital stay is typically only 3 days after this operation.
Not blood type compatible with your recipient to be a living donor? Kidney Paired Donation (the “kidney swap” program) enables incompatible candidates with a living donor to receive a kidney from a compatible donor.
Last year, over 700 living donor kidney transplants occurred using Kidney Paired Donation.
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