This #GivingTuesday consider becoming a live kidney donor

News / General
By Meaghan Quinn

Help make a positive impact on the lives of other by signing your donor card or informing yourself on becoming a live kidney donor

For most people, “Giving Tuesday” usually means donating money to a cause or community need that is close to your heart. This year, the Kidney Transplant Program at Kingston Health Sciences Centre is asking you to consider a different kind of donation by registering to become an Organ and Tissue donor or to consider becoming a live kidney donor.  

“There’s a desperate need for kidney donation in Kingston and across Canada and we need more people to know that they can help save another’s life in our community by checking their donor card or informing themselves on the option to become a live kidney donor,” says Arlene Funnell, coordinator with the Kidney Transplant Program at KHSC. “We are lucky to have a successful live donation program in Kingston that can help meet that need.”

Launched in 2017, the Live Donor Kidney program at KHSC is a new service for the southeastern Ontario region. In a living donation one of the patient’s kidneys is removed laproscopically and implanted into a recipient whose kidneys are failing. With careful planning, donors can help patients avoid the need for dialysis.

In Ontario there are currently around ten thousand patients who receive some form of dialysis and in Kingston alone there are approximately 400-450 patients who receive treatment in the dialysis unit at the Kingston General Hospital site. Through a live kidney donation recipients are able to stop dialysis, have a better quality of life, lead a more physically active lifestyle and have a longer life span.

“Kidney transplantation is life-saving and life-altering and we’re proud to have a program in Kingston that can make such a hugely positive difference to the lives of patients and their families,” says Lori Van Manen, Program Operational Director for Renal Services. “We have a strong team of specialists who offer outstanding care to our patients and are with you throughout every step of the donation process.”

A transplant is the preferred treatment for most patients suffering from kidney failure, yet there are not enough deceased kidney donors to help every patient in need. Living donors can help someone they know in need of a kidney transplant or they can donate anonymously to help someone on a waitlist in Canada.

“For anyone who may be interested in living kidney donation they can donate a kidney to a person in need and still live a normal, healthy life,” says Funnell. “You don’t need to be related to the person to be a donor, the donation can be done by a spouse or cousin or completely anonymously. Kidney donation, especially living kidney donation, is an incredible gift that extends people’s lives and improves the quality of their life.”

So this year when considering the biggest impact you can make on #GivingTuesday consider signing your organ and tissue donor card or informing yourself on the opportunity to become a living kidney donor. You can learn more at www.blood.ca/en/organs-tissues or by contacting the Living Kidney Coordinator at 613-549-6666 extension 7838 or Arlene.Funnell@KingstonHSC.ca