MEDFORD, Ore. — Last year, Helen Lynn came into contact with a dangerous strain of e-coli which eventually resulted in end stage renal failure that caused her kidneys to shut down. Now, she is on dialysis for nine hours a day, and the only way to get her off of that is a kidney transplant.
After Newswatch 12 aired Helen’s story on Thursday night, the outpouring from the community was shown through several comments on Facebook supporting Helen and her family.
Some viewers asked how they could donate money, and others asked how to donate a kidney to the toddler.
According to the Donate Life Northwest, more than 120,000 people are waiting for organ transplants in the United States alone, and each day 18 people die waiting for an organ transplant.
Living donors can donate specific organs or tissue like blood, bone marrow, one kidney, or a portion of a lung or liver.
“Kidney donation is a major surgery and there are risks involved with that. But there are newer surgical techniques that have reduced the recovery time for many donors. Most are able to return to work within a week to two weeks and resume all activities within 4 to 8 weeks,” said Donate Life Northwest Program Director Stephen Rice.
Living donors are typical family or friends that are a perfect match for the recipient, and people see it as a proactive approach to finding donors. There are currently over 100,000 people in the county waiting for a kidney transplant, and 725 just in Oregon.
If you are interested in being a living donor, Donate Life Northwest recommends getting in touch with a transplant hospital in your area and let them know you would like to be tested for a specific patient.
Rice also said that children can receive adult organs and some of the most successful kidney transplants are when a child receives an organ from a parent. Anyone over the age of 21 can be a living donor. Approval of a living child donor is extremely rare but is considered in special cases.
The organization also recommends discussing organ donation and end of life care with family and close friends.
You can sign up to be included in the donor registry by visiting Donate Life Northwest.
You can also make a donation to Helen through the Children’s Organ Transplant Association.