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Senior Agenda airs live every Thursday morning at 10 am. Podcasts are also available.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Learn More about Making a Living Kidney Donation - Help Us Help This Family

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Larry Swilling will be one of our featured guest on tomorrow morning's Senior Agenda at 10:00 am.   He has been taking action in the search for a kidney for his wife of 56 years, Jimmie Sue Swilling, for almost a year now.  The story has received national attention and Larry reports more than 1300 inquiries since he took to walking the streets in Anderson, South Carolina with a sign that reads - Need Kidney for My Wife - back in September of 2012.  But still - no kidney.  

Finding a match is no easy task.  Jimmie Sue has been working with the Medical University of South Carolina.  She needs a donor with O+ blood.  Larry and family all have A+ blood.  

Consider the following quick facts about a living donation provided by the National Kidney Foundation: 

  •      A live organ can come from a family member, good friend, spouse,    in-law or even from a stranger. Thanks to improved medications, a genetic link between the donor and recipient is no longer required to ensure a successful transplant.
  •      The organ most commonly given by a living donor is the kidney. People usually have two kidneys, and one is all that is needed to live a normal life. When the kidney is removed, the single normal kidney will increase in size to compensate for the loss of the donated kidney. Parts of other organs including the lung, liver and pancreas are now being transplanted from living donors.
  •     To donate a kidney, you must be in good health and have normal kidney function. The prospective donor and recipient must have compatible blood types.
  •     If you wish to donate to a stranger, it is important to educate yourself on donation and make sure you understand the risks and benefits of donation. If you decide to pursue donation, you will need to contact transplant centers in your area.
  •     Donors are never financially compensated. Under federal law, it is illegal to receive money or gifts in exchange for an organ donation. The cost of the living donor's evaluation, testing and surgery are generally paid for by the recipient's Medicare or private health insurance. Time off from work and travel expenses are not covered by Medicare or private insurance. However, donors may be eligible for sick leave, state disability and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  •     A kidney can be removed in either of two ways, the traditional open surgery or the laparoscopic technique.  To learn more please visit the  National Kidney Foundation at Living Donation.  
Larry is not about to give up.  He is a hard-working, dedicated, and determined husband.  This 77-year old still works nine hour shifts in a local factory because his wife's medicines costs about $4,400 a month. They have Medicare and have worked it out so that the cost of the surgery for the donor will be 100% covered.  

Let's work together to keep this love story going.  Most everyone sees this as a heart-warming story but these folks are real people asking for real help.  If you or someone you know could be a possible donor, please call MUSC's transplant center at 
1-800-277-8687 today.