Friday, June 26, 2009

Testing Update: Not a match

We heard back at the end of the day yesterday (Thursday) that neither Zach or Matt are a match for Darren. Darren's anti-bodies reacted strongly (adversely) to both Zach and Matt's blood samples. I'm thankful for a clear result (although, wish it was a clearly good result!) and know God has a plan, good thing we don't have to worry about that. ;)

We are disappointed, of course, but not surprised...and certainly not giving up hope. I'm confident that the right person/situation/kidney is out there, and we will be patient until then. We are so immensely thankful for both Zach and Matt for coming forward and committing to donating Darren a kidney, even if it wasn't to be. The hope and Grace we feel in our lives is ever present.

So, what's next? With your help we can continue to reach out, share and inform...and through that, I hope that the right person is found.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Perils of the National Waiting List

Every day at about 3:30 I get a Google News email listing all the articles related to "kidneys" that come across the internet that day. Lately there have been a lot of articles about living donors (daughter gives to Mother, friend gives to friend, woman gives to My Space acquaintance...etc.) which is really wonderful. (And apparently there is a trouble making soccer player by the name of Kidney in England that I get to follow as well.)

However, there is also a lot of sobering news. I came across the below article this week in the LA Times, which I thought was worth passing along. The statistics don't surprise me when I see the difference between the amount of people waiting for a kidney on the national waiting list (80,000) and the amount that actually receive transplants each year from that list (less than 10,000). With 400,000 people on dialysis now in the US and the projection being more than 2 million by 2030, the realities are truly sobering. It really drives home the importance of being an organ donor. If more people educated themselves, checked that box on their drivers license and made their wishes known to family...these statistics could change.


Number of patients who die awaiting kidney reaches new high

2:00 PM, June 18, 2009

The shortage of donor organs has been a problem for many years, and it isn't getting any better. A study published today found that 46% of patients age 60 and older currently on the waiting list for a kidney transplant will die before receiving an organ from a deceased donor. The study is published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

People in search of a kidney may have better luck trying to find a living donor -- someone who will give up one of their two kidneys.

"We have now reached a notable benchmark in which nearly half of newly listed older candidates will not survive the interval to receive a deceased donor transplant," the lead author of the study, Jesse D. Schold, said in a news release. "Our results emphasize the particular need to consider living donation as an alternative source for some older patients -- or alternatively, the critical importance of navigating the steps to receive a deceased donor transplant as rapidly as possible."

Schold, an associate instructor of medicine at the University of Florida, analyzed data on nearly 55,000 patients over age 60 who were on the U.S. waiting list for a kidney transplant from 1995 to 2007. Patients age 70 and older and African Americans were even more likely to die before receiving a kidney. Besides age, factors such as blood type and being on dialysis at the time of listing also affected the odds of receiving a transplant. The study also found wide variations in regions of the country.

The number of people who need kidneys is increasing while the number of donors has remained stable. That means time on the waiting list has grown and more people die. Only certain patients are viable organ donors at the time of death. While many family members consent to donation, an astonishing number of Americans refuse to offer what has been called "the gift of life."

Information on organ transplantation, donation and procurement can be found on the websites of the United Network for Organ Sharing and Donate Life America.

-- Shari Roan
Photo: A patient receives kidney dialysis. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Testing Update: Step 1 - tomorrow!

Darren, Matt and Zach will be going in tomorrow (Thursday, June 18th) to do the blood draw for the first step of the matching process. As I mentioned before, this test will determine if Darren's body will react to either Matt or Zach's. A "negative" reaction is good (meaning, there was no fighting antibodies) and a "positive" reaction is, as you have guessed, not so good. So, let's pray for a "negative" reaction!

We won't know the results of that test for 10 - 14 days. So as we patiently await the results, please pray for clarity in this process.

Now off to hold my breath for two weeks...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Testing Update: Here we go!

Well, here we go....

I've been waiting to post an update until I had as much concrete information as possible. But I can't wait any longer. In the next couple weeks, Zach Entwistle and Matt Peloza are going to have the HLA and genetic typing test done to see if they could be a donor match for Darren! This is the very first (and big!) step in the testing process. Basically, this test will determine if Darren's body will react against Zach's and/or Matt's tissue. If it does, it means that they are not a match for Darren.

As most of you know, Darren has had a very high sensitivity due to the previous rejection, meaning he has many active antibodies ready to throw down and fight. This has been the reason none of the half dozen or so people who were tested for Darren several years ago were a match. Over the years he's been back on dialysis, his sensitivity has subsided...although still considered high, it's not nearly as high as it was when others were tested for him. All this to say, a match right now is about a 50/50 chance....I'll take those odds!

Although we are cautiously optimistic, we are unexplainable thankful for Zach and Matt (and their lovely wives, Suzi and Cami :). They're not only willing and ready to give a part of themselves, but with such compassion and confidence. The gift of hope they have given us is a true blessing.
Through all of this, what I hope and pray for the most is clarity and secondly, for patience.

Right now the test is scheduled for the next couple weeks. Once it takes place, we won't know the results for 10 - 14 days. I'll be sure to update the blog with the timing and results as things progress.

So...stay tuned!