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Becoming a living donor can save and change lives

Posted: 8:48 AM, Apr 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-25 12:04:36Z
Curtis Warfield.JPG

INDIANAPOLIS — There are more than 100,000 Americans on the transplant waiting list and almost 85 percent of the people on that list are waiting for a kidney.

Curtis Warfield was one of those people, and he says a generous donation from a living donor is what saved and changed his life.

Warfield says he was shocked when the doctors informed him he had stage three kidney disease and would need to be put on the transplant list.

“Of course, that was a surprise because when you hear disease behind your name – you get a little worried,” Warfield said.

On top of the diagnosis, doctors informed Warfield that he could be waiting for up to four years.

“I was told it would be a two and a half to four year wait to receive a kidney,” he said.

St. Vincent Doctor Islam Ghoneim says one way Hoosiers can help people like Warfield is by becoming a living donor.

But donating a kidney isn’t as easy as donating blood, there’s a long process. Possible donors have to go through medical and psychological testing to make sure they are a match and prepared for the type of operation they’re volunteering to undergo – and the impact it will have on their life afterwards.

If you become living donor and are ever in need of a kidney transplant in the future, Dr. Ghoneim says you will also be moved up on the transplant list.

But donating a kidney isn’t as easy as donating blood, there’s a long process. Possible donors have to go through medical and psychological testing to make sure they are a match and prepared for the type of operation they’re volunteering to undergo – and the impact it will have on their life afterwards.

Warfield says it was a generous donation from his daughter’s sorority sister that changed his life. The girl was a match and chose to become a living donor and give him her kidney.

“While I was on dialysis, it was planning for me to get through the day, Warfield said. “Now, after receiving a kidney, I can go back and plan for an actual future for more life.”

Now, he’s advocating for the Living Donor Protection Act at the state and federal levels, which would prevent insurance companies from hiking the rates for people who have donated their kidneys, denying them long-term care disability and the use of their family medical leave act after they donate.

Other legislation on the table would expand the coverage of anti-rejection drugs past the three-year mark through Medicaid and Medicare.