ST. LOUIS – If we could help one-third of people suffering a debilitating disease with a simple solution, wouldn't we want to give it a try?
On Thursday, World Kidney Day, a group of advocates and supporters from the St. Louis area headed to Jefferson City to push lawmakers to go for those solutions.
They are urging support of the national House bill known as the Living Donor Protection Act. It would ensure living donors are covered by insurance and can take FMLA time-off after donating, as well as sponsor commercials and education initiatives to encourage living donation.
Of more than 120,000 people in the country who need a new organ, more than 100,000 of those people are awaiting a kidney transplant. More than 1,000 people in the St. Louis area alone need a new kidney.
The average wait time is three to five years—and that’s often time spent in expensive, draining treatment like dialysis.
However, there’s hope. One in three transplants happen thanks to a living donor giving one of their kidneys.
That’s the best kind, since those kidneys last twice as long as one coming from a deceased donor. And the best part? Donors can essentially go back to life as usual after the operation.
5 On Your Side anchor Anne Allred underwent her own life-saving kidney transplant thanks to a friend’s gift.
“When I was sick I could barely get out of bed, I was nauseous all the time, I could hardly eat, I was on dialysis for eight hours a day, I was shivering cold constantly: I best describe it as I felt like someone ripped my battery out. My living donor gave me a new battery—and my life back,” Allred said.
“Living donors, they’re angels on earth. What is more selfless than giving an organ to someone else? They deserve to be protected, cherished, and praised.”
There’s still time to join Anne at the 2019 National Kidney Foundation Walk: That’s happening March 24 at Westport Plaza. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. For more information, visit their site.