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The organ swap program lets you help a loved one even if you aren't a match

Posted: 5:41 AM, Apr 24, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-24 22:01:56-04
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INDIANAPOLIS — Becoming a living donor is one way to help the thousands of Hoosiers who are waiting on a transplant, but you don't have to be an exact match to the person you are trying to help to make a difference.

The kidney swap program teams up potential donors who aren't a match with the person they are trying to donate to with others across the country who they do match. Your kidney may go to someone else, but because of your donation, the person you are trying to help can be teamed up with another person who can help them.

Todd Payne has polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder that causes cysts to grow on his kidneys.

Now that he needs a new kidney, he's amazed at how big the transplant list really is.

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"Until you're on the organ donors list, and looking for organs, it's amazing the number of people who need organs."

About 85 percent of the people on that list are waiting for a kidney. Payne has been on the list for almost four years. While he waits for his kidney and his turn, he has to get weekly dialysis.

"Dialysis just wears you out, it's a hard like to go through three days a week."

Dialysis is also expensive. For Payne, it costs roughly $300 per week, and almost $16,000 per year.

"If I didn't have insurance, I couldn't afford dialysis."

Payne says being a living donor either by director donation or the kidney swap program can change a person's life more than you can imagine.

"You could help me if you still are willing to donate a good healthy kidney for somebody," Payne said. "It's not going to come to me, but it could go to somebody else and in turn brings somebody to me."

Payne's fiance is a match for him, but she can't donate because doctors say it would be too risky for her own health.

Regardless of the circumstances, Payne is hopeful that he'll get his kidney.

"Just reassure yourself that there is hope and that God's in control, that's how I look at it every day," Payne said. "it's rewarding I think, very emotional, one of those deals where you hang up the phone and you're like wow is this real? but the idea of getting a kidney is amazing."

You can learn more about becoming a living donor here: https://unos.org/transplant/living-donation/