NKF Celebrates National Donate Life Month in April

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04/05/2022

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kidney.org

Saving a loved one’s life is the greatest gift you could offer a sibling struggling with kidney disease and in need of a transplant. Kidney disease is a public health crisis that affects an estimated 37 million adults in the U.S., but approximately 90% don’t know they have it until it has progressed to the critical late stages. The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is celebrating National Donate Life Month in April and National Siblings Day on Sunday, April 10 by sharing inspiring stories of siblings stepping up and giving their loved one’s a second chance at life through organ donation

“Siblings have a 25% chance of being a great match for a living donor transplant to their sister or brother,” said Kevin Longino, CEO of the NKF and a kidney transplant patient. “Giving this precious gift is rewarding for the living donor as well as the recipient because you’re saving a life while still alive. Only 1 in 5 people on the waitlist will receive a kidney transplant this year, so finding a living donor is essential to the patients’ survival. The need is so great that we are asking all Americans to consider becoming living donors. 1” 

The availability of living donors is crucial to the survival of many kidney patients with kidney failure. Patients might wait for an average of three to seven years for a kidney transplant depending on where the patient lives. Each day 12 patients die waiting for a kidney. The living donation was responsible for a total of 5,971 transplants in 2021, a decrease of 13.1% percent over the record 7,397 living donor transplants set in 2019. 

Thousands of successful organ and tissue transplants take place each year from both deceased and living donors; however, kidney and corneal transplants are the most common. New drugs and improved techniques are increasing the numbers of heart, liver, pancreas, lung, bone, and other types of transplants. 

“I will be forever grateful to my brother Doug for the precious gift he gave me,” said Mary Baliker transplant recipient and volunteer NKF advocate. “Doug donated his kidney without hesitation; I have such deep appreciation for my big brother and his selfless act. Our special bond is everlasting, and we’re so excited to be celebrating our 41stKidney Transplant Anniversary in October 2022.” 

NKF encourages all Americans to consider becoming a living organ donors. Join the conversation on social media during National Donate Life Month and National Siblings Day by using the hashtags #DonateLifeMonth and #NationalSiblingsDay. Learn more about NKF, living organ donation, and kidney disease at www.kidney.org/livingdonation.

  1. Columbia University. Living Donor Kidney Transplants article available at: columbiasurgery.org 

About National Kidney Foundation Living Organ Donation Resources:

THE BIG ASK: THE BIG GIVE platform, which provides nationwide outreach, is designed to increase kidney transplantation through training and tools that help patients and families find a living donor. It includes direct patient and care partner support through our toll-free helpline 855-NKF-CARES, peer mentoring from a fellow kidney patient or a living donor, online communities, an advocacy campaign to remove barriers to donation, and a multi-media public awareness campaign. All resources are free and designed to teach kidney patients, or their advocates, how to make a “big ask” to their friends, loved ones, or community to consider making a “big give,” a living organ donation. www.kidney.org/livingdonation.

Kidney Disease Facts

In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it.  1 in 3 adults in the U.S. are at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and family history. People of Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, or Other Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. Blacks or African Americans are 3 times more likely than white Americans to have kidney failure.  Hispanics are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanics to have kidney failure.

Approximately 750,000 Americans have irreversible kidney failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. More than 500,000 of these patients receive dialysis at least three times per week to replace kidney function. Nearly 100,000 Americans are on the waitlist for a kidney transplant right now.  Depending on where a patient lives, the average wait time for a kidney transplant can be upwards of three to seven years.

About the National Kidney Foundation

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org.

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