Questions and Answers

Thank you for visiting Kelly's Kidneys.  If you are here because you read about Kelly in a newsletter, bulletin, website, Facebook or somewhere else, welcome! This page is an ever growing list (updated as they come in) of questions that surround Kelly's disease and how to help.

What is actually wrong with Kelly's kidneys?
Kelly is suffering from Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), a genetic disease where cysts grow on her kidneys and eventually overtake their capacity to filter her blood.  PKD is also a painful disease so both kidneys will be removed in the very near future, leaving her to face dialysis until a donor is found.  A new kidney would give her the chance at living a long, healthy life with her husband of 20+ years and their 6 children (as well as continuing as the church secretary at St. Michael in Worthington).

Is Kelly on "The List" (what people refer to as the organ transplant waiting list)
Kelly has been approved for organ transplant at The Ohio State University Medical Center and is on the kidney transplant list there.  However, the wait for an organ from a deceased person is 7+ years.  During this time, Kelly would be forced to be on dialysis, which would allow her to live, but, depending on several things, could very likely require her to spend 3 nights a week at a dialysis center for 4 hours each time, after working a full-time job.  This is hard on the body and the soul as hemodialysis often makes the patients extremely tired, unable to eat and requires an enormous amount of time away from her family.

How could I help?

Would you consider "sharing a spare" and being a living donor for Kelly? A kidney from a living donor greatly increases her survivability rate and greatly lowers the chance of rejection.  

Isn't that expensive?
There is no cost to the donor, all expenses are covered 100% and this even includes travel & accommodation expenses for out of town donors through grants made possible by several organizations, including Living Donor Assistance.

Who can be a donor?
Anyone between the ages of at least 18 and around 65 can be a living donor.  You should be in relatively good health, meaning that you don't have diabetes, cancer (past or present), if you have high blood pressure it is controlled, are mentally sound and have no communicable systemic diseases like HIV, Hepatitis, etc.  You can get more information by contacting the OSU Transplant center OSU Living Donor Program or call them at 800-293-8965

Can someone live with only one kidney?

Yes - many people are born with a single kidney and never know it.  When you donate a kidney, both you and the recipient can live long, healthy lives with just one kidney.

Does a kidney donor have to take medication for the rest of their lives?  Can they no longer drink alcohol?

No, a kidney donor does not have to take any medication that is in relation to the donation.  And there is no restriction on drinking alcohol in the future.

Is there a huge scar?  Will I miss a lot of work?  How long will I have to be in the hospital?

The typical donor nephrectomy  has a few very small incisions because it's done laparoscopically Most people say after 6 months, it's barely visible and after a year, you can't even tell.  The typical hospital stay is just 2 days and you'll be able to drive after just 2 weeks.  If you have an office type job, you can be back to work in 3 weeks.  Many employers support this altruistic act by allowing their employees to work from home, shorter work days as they recover, paid time off, FMLA, etc.  

If I call to get information, will Kelly know?

No - everything regarding the transplant and potential donors is kept strictly confidential.  The only information the transplant center gives Kelly is that "people" have been calling in on her behalf.  She will never know who called, who is tested, who changed their minds, anything about any potential donors health, etc.  In fact, she does not learn that there is a potential donor until long after the donor has made the decision, been tested and approved and has agreed to let her know.  You can decide at the very last moment to change your mind, though most people don't when they get that far.

Can I donate if I'm a man, a different race/ethnicity, different blood type, etc?

Organ donation sees no gender, no race, no religion.  Donations between donors of one blood type and recipients of another blood type are done on a case-by-case basis and depend on a number of other factors.

If I'm not a match for Kelly, how can I help?

If you're not a match due to blood type or antibodies but still want to donate, you can still help!  How?  Let's say that there are two patients needing a kidney:  Kelly and Andrew.  Kelly's friend David wants to donate to Kelly, but he's not a match for her.  Andrew's friend Matthew wants to donate to Andrew but he's not a match for him. But....Matthew is a match for Kelly and David is a match for Andrew - so Kelly and Andrew trade donors and they both get a kidney!  This incredible act of kindness has resulted in chains of up to 70+ transplants being done in the span of a few days - all because people were willing to share their spare to anyone in need to benefit their friend or loved one.  Confused? Don't worry, the folks at the transplant center can explain it a lot better (though maybe not as colorful) and also let you know about some other ways you can help.

My health is not that great or I'm disqualified for some other reason - but I still want to help, what can I do?

The best thing you can do is spread the word about Kelly!  Share her website, ask her for some cards to hand out to people, spread her email address ( , post it in your church bulletin, newsletter, send it out to your email groups, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram - just get the word out!

OSU Medical Center logo

If you have any other questions, please leave them in the comments below, or call the Ohio State University Comprehensive Transplant Center at 800-293-8965 and choose option 3, then choose option 3 again and let them know you want to be assessed to be a donor for Kelly N.  They'll send out an assessment packet right away.

If you have other questions, or just want to see how Kelly is doing, please feel free to contact her husband and donor champion, Steve N. or click the images below to be connected via social media:

For more information about Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)

PKD Foundation

The National Kidney Foundation

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

No comments:

Post a Comment

We love to hear your words of encouragement and are happy to answer questions! Please note that your comment will not show up immediately, all comments are moderated for content and appropriateness.

And on and on and on and on

Every day, someone asks me how I'm doing and have "they" found a match yet.  It truly is a blessing to have so many people car...