Some of you know I have kidney disease. You may not know that my kidneys have worsened to the point where they no longer work on their own. My only treatment options are dialysis or a transplant.
Regular dialysis can keep me alive, but long-term dialysis is hard on my body and other organs. A transplant could give me a longer, healthier, more normal life — and more time with the people I love.
Time is not on our side and I have 90 days to find a kidney donor. After that I will have to be on dialysis for the rest of my life. If you could find it in your heart, please be a hero and give me a call.
I’d like to share with you some information about living kidney donation:
- People only need one kidney to live a healthy, long life.
- Most donor surgery is done laparoscopically, meaning through tiny incisions.
- The recuperation period is usually fairly quick, about two weeks.
- My insurance will cover the cost of a donor’s evaluation and surgery. The transplant program can give extensive information on this if you’d like to learn more.
- My potential donor will have a separate team of health care professionals who handle the physical and emotional evaluation all candidates must have. Their job is to answer all questions and look out for my donor’s best interests. This is all confidential and not shared with me.
If you’d like to learn more about becoming a living donor for me, I would be happy to talk with you. You also can contact my transplant program, at The Transplant Center at Froedtert Hospital. If you want to talk to someone who’s already donated a kidney, they can help arrange that.
I encourage you to learn more about living donation by visiting the National Kidney Foundation at Kidney.org/LivingDonation. It offers a free, confidential helpline at 855–NKF–CARES (855–653–2273), or you can reach out by email at Nfkcares@Kidney.org.
Thank you for taking time to read my story.
Bob Walerstein is a longtime member of Congregation Shalom in Fox Point.