When Mary Dean of Florissant, Mo., heard her friend Dorie Wilner discussing how none of Wilner's relatives were suitable donors for a kidney transplant, Dean's mission was clear.
"When I found out I was a match for Dorie's kidney, I immediately decided to become a donor," says Dean. "Dorie tried to talk me out of donating, even as we were being taken to the operating room, but I knew I could help save her life."
A Renewed Hope
On any given day, more than 70,000 Americans are on waiting lists for new kidneys. Sadly, many will never receive the kidney they need to save their lives because of nationwide donor shortage - but Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University physicians are changing this.
"Barnes-Jewish is home to one of the largest and most experienced kidney transplant programs in the country, performing more than 100 kidney transplants every year," says Martin Jendrisak, MD, Washington University general surgeon and surgical director of the Kidney Transplant Program. "Our hope is to educate the community on the importance of kidney donation so that more people like Dorie may be saved."
The experience and expertise is evident. The nephrology program at Barnes-Jewish Hospital was recently ranked #8 by U.S.News & World Report.
Now, after several weeks recovery time and only a small scar on her abdomen as a reminder of the surgery, Dean is an advocate for organ donation and speaks to groups in the area on the importance of being a living donor.
"Donating a kidney to my friend was the best thing I've ever done," says Dean. "Although it can be scary, I encourage all people to consider being a living donor—it can help save lives."
Who Are Living Kidney Donors?
Living donors are volunteers of all races who choose to donate a kidney while alive. While the individual circumstances of potential donors are discussed privately and donors undergo testing to determine compatibility, all potential donors are:
- genuinely willing to donate
- physically fit and in good health
- free from high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and kidney disease
- between the ages of 18 and 70 years old
- family members, friends, co-workers—anyone who is willing to donate. Donors do not have to be the same race or gender as the recipient.
For more information or to make an appointment, call 314-TOP-DOCS (314-867-3627) or toll-free 866-867-3627.