The Gift of Life we areSearching For … A Real Life Kidney Search in Process

April 25, 2014 • Fenny Peiffer

frank curran

By Frank Curran: Principal and resident at The Fairways at Savannah Quarters, west Savannah’s premierActive Adult community and a frequent contributor to Active Adult Living.

As some of you who follow this site know I have written numerous articles on Active Adult Living over the years to feature not only our development in Savannah for Active Adults but those considerations we need to embrace when we find that our children have grown and gone, our careers have come to an end, and some of our friends and loved ones have passed on.  We wonder how it all could have happened so quickly. At this crossroad, many of us are unsure about the next chapter in our lives; our thoughts on the matter many times are fuzzy and incomplete. In many instances we have obstacles confront us as we age that catch us off guard even with the best of planning, especially with unplanned health issues and even the death of a spouse or loved one.

My wife and I have been dealing with her kidney health issues for numerous years but the disease inherited from her father has worsened and has led us to pursue obtaining a transplant. She is now on the transplant list at hospitals in Georgia and Ohio. We have used social media to advertise our development in the past to some success and I decided to use the most popular, Facebook, to reach out to family, friends and acquaintances in our quest to find Joanna a kidney. 

Please seeFacebook Page Help Us Find Joanna a Kidney. We would appreciate if you are a Facebook user to click to this site above and click Like. If you are not yet a Facebook user I suggest you consider doing so. One of the fastest growing demographics on Facebook is the Active Adult generation.The following two links can provide a source of information to all who wish to learn more about organ transplantation:

Chances are good that at least half of your family members use Facebook. If you’ve never used Facebook, here are the basics: you’ll need a computer and an internet account. If you’re mobile then your Android or iPhone will work as well. Signing up for Facebook is free, and once signed up the site has tutorials on how to set up your account. Or, call one of your children or grandchildren; they would probably get a kick out of helping you get your account set up.  Once set up, all you do is look up your friends and family, establish an online relationship (“friend” them) and all of their comments and posts will come directly to your personal page where you can respond as you desire. A word of warning, though: Facebook is addictive! Once you start exchanging posts with friends and family you will discover that you are involved in their lives more than you ever were before Facebook.

It’s hard for most people to comprehend the thought of living on borrowed time waiting for a miracle. Joanna is a Mother of 3 and 6 Grandchildren and was recently informed that the inherited Polycystic Kidney Disease had progressed to Stage 4 failure. Dialysis and a transplant is a near term need. She has proceeded to be accepted for transplant by a hospital clinic in Georgia and Ohio. She is well aware that unless a compatible kidney donor is found she cannot look forward to future years to enjoy family and friends on a more normal healthy basis. Dialysis will be a necessary machine to prolong her life.

She has dreamed of leading a normal life and especially as she enters her golden years.She was the youngest in a family of five. They all have inherited the disease but none with ramifications of failure that she has. As she became educated to control the amount of protein, potassium and phosphorus that is in all normal diets her daily eating habits have changed significantly. She now hasto focus on maintaining her kidney function at levels that her Doctor’s have suggested will help her better handle the rigors of transplant when it occurs. Her Doctors have said she is otherwise healthy for transplant. So the search continues.

We have learned that in the United States alone there are in excess of 100,000 people waiting for a kidney and about 15 of those patients die every day.  Kidneys are paired organs and a living donor can function normally with a single kidney.The New England Journal of Medicine and Journal of the American Medical Association studies have published that donors will maintain the same life span as those who do not provide the gift of life and the rate of end-stage renal disease was significantly lower in the group of patients who donated a kidney than the rate in the general population. Recovery time for kidney transplants is typically four to six weeks and half that long for the donor. A living kidney donor is usually between ages 18 to 65 in excellent health. Donors over age 65 are considered on a case by case basis. Women of childbearing age can have children after kidney donation because the donor surgery does not affect their reproductive organs. All expenses for the medical testing and consideration and transplant surgery are covered by the recipient’s health insurance.

Numerous relatives and friends have been tested but have been rejected. So the search goes on. We continue to wait and reach out to find that suitable donor before it is too late. Our friends and we pray daily for the Lord’s intervention and guidance in our search.

If you have ever considered becoming a live donor, but are concerned about any possible health repercussions, here is one story that is real. A donor Mike was 43 when he donated one of his two healthy kidneys to save a life. Today at 53 he is still as healthy as ever, trekking national parks and cycling 10 miles a day in his spare time. He runs his own design studio and leads a perfectly healthy life. By the way he heard and read of the need for a kidney on Facebook!!

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