Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Marisa Tufaro inspired many with her heart and courage


A picture of my beautiful daughter, Marisa Rose Tufaro, affixed with medical tape to the wall above her hospital bed, starkly contrasted the child lying below.

Marisa’s gorgeous brown eyes — brighter than stars and the most distinguishing characteristic of her angelic face — were now hidden behind gently closed lids and stunningly long lashes as she peacefully drifted from this world to her rightful place in heaven.

The photograph of Marisa, smiling naturally under a navy blue baseball cap bearing the logo of the San Antonio Missions, a minor league team we watched play during a favorite family vacation, captures her quintessence and is the way she should forever be remembered.

A heart transplant, which was supposed to extend Marisa’s life, tragically cut it short after a postoperative complication developed into a rare form of Stage IV cancer to which she succumbed following a valiant battle.

Born with a complex cardiac defect, Marisa, who survived six open-heart surgeries and life-threatening comorbidities prior to transplant, died yesterday at the age of 13, nearly seven months after receiving an organ donor’s ineffable gift. Continue reading

Family hopes to give Uniontown man needing a kidney the gift of life

THE GLEANER | Erin Schmitt

Bobby Howard, left, with his nephew, Lucas Gerald. The younger man is undergoing screening to see if he can donate a kidney to his uncle who has end-stage renal failure.
Tammy Howard Washick had hoped to give her brother Bobby Howard the gift of life next month.

Howard, 44, has end stage renal failure in both kidneys and badly needs a kidney transplant.

His family has known for a while that the Uniontown man would need a kidney to survive. Washick, 47, of Griffith, Ind., always thought she would be the one to donate a kidney to her little brother.

"Tammy and Bobby have always been close and there was no hesitation on Tammy's part to give her brother one of her kidneys," said their mother, Lana Howard.

Lana Howard moved from Griffith, Ind. to Uniontown about two years ago to help care for him. At the time, she thought she would only be there for a little while to nurse him back to health. Continue reading

SISD students work to register new organ donors

KTSM | Patrick Hayes
SISD student council looks to educate community about need for organ donations

EL PASO, Texas - Students in the Socorro Independent School District recently partnered with Donate Life Texas to participate in “Dare to Dream. Dare to Do,” an annual campaign to raise awareness for organ donations.

Organizers said project will allow student council groups to educate the community about the need for organ donations and encourage them to register as donors.

In Socorro, students are trying to register 1000 new donors.

“Right now we have about 50 but we’ll keep pushing,” said Kamryn Hauck, a senior at El Dorado High School.

She also said that this effort hits close to home.

"One of our Aztecs passed away and he was an organ donor himself,” she said. “We wanted to get the word out there so people can follow in his footsteps."

Valerie Hermosillo, El Dorado High School’s student council president, said, “It’s a way to give back and it’s a simple way to do it.” Continue reading

Ontario organ donations jump 30% in just one year

Trillium Gift of Life Network calls 2016 third straight record year for donation and transplants

The Trillium Gift of Life Network says 1,302 people received organ transplants in Ontario in 2016. The number of deceased donors increased 30 per cent over the previous year. (Shutterstock)
A record number of families consented to donate their loved ones' organs in Ontario last year, leading to a record number of organ transplants, according to figures released Tuesday by the Trillium Gift of Life Network.

The provincial agency that co-ordinates organ and tissue donations attributes the increases partly to the work of Ontario's hospitals in referring all potential donation cases to the agency, and partly to growing numbers of people registering online as would-be organ donors.

Trillium Gift of Life Network reports that 1,302 people received organ transplants in 2016. The transplants came from 351 deceased donors — a 30 per cent increase over the previous year — and from 256 living donors.

Other signs of the growing acceptance of organ and tissue donation in the province: Continue reading

Irish comedian Jarlath Regan to fly to US to help with brother's life-saving surgery


Comedian Jarlath Regan is set to donate a kidney to his younger brother Photo: Steve Ullathorne
Irish comedian Jarlath Regan said his decision to donate a kidney to his critically ill brother was made "in a heartbeat" after discovering he was a suitable match.

The London-based comedian will fly to the US next week to undergo surgery to donate a kidney to his brother, which he said will extend his sibling's life expectancy by 30 years.

Speaking on the Eoghan McDermott Show on RTE 2fm, Jarlath (36) said his brother has battled with a condition since his childhood, which has seen his kidney function deteriorate to a critical level in recent years.

"Basically what he's had is two flat tires for most of his life, two kidneys that aren’t producing a chemical that can help him regulate calcium in his body. They are essentially a set of batteries that are running down. He's at a critical level so I guess we saw it coming along way off. I was always aware that there would possibly come a day when the question would be put, and when it was put I flew over to Rochester in Minnesota and I was as good a match as he could hope to find. His kidney function was down to 15 and normal is 85. There is no known reason why, considering the number of pints I've drank over the course of my life, but my kidney function is well over 100. So he's going to be rocket-powered by the time he gets this. Continue reading

Galaxy honors former student through organ donor drive

THE OPTIMIST | Lauren Franco

A former student who passed away in the fall is being honored by his social club through an organ donor drive in the Campus Center.

During the past week, the men of Galaxy have been in the Campus Center helping students and faculty sign up to be organ donors to raise awareness and honor Landon Powell, a former student and member of Galaxy.

“We tell people our goal isn’t just to sign up as many people as possible,” said Colton Powell, Landon’s cousin. “Our goal is to sign up at least one person that will be able to make a difference with their organs. We don’t know who it’s going to be or, right now, if that’s being accomplished. But our goal is just to be able to save lives and raise awareness. We aren’t really going for a particular number.”

The process to sign up to be an organ donor is simple and takes about five minutes. Galaxy is using organdonor.gov, which directs applicants to donatelifetexas.org. The website asks for information such as legal name, address, contact information, social security and drivers license numbers. Continue reading

9-year-old girl shot and killed was organ donor


Of all the details and decisions Amber Caudell has had to make in the days since her daughter was fatally shot as she hid from a gunman who shot her father, there is one that was never difficult.

There was never a second thought that Alexandrea "Sissy" Thompson would be an organ donor, her mom said this week as she planned her 9-year-old's upcoming visitation and funeral service this weekend.

"That was a no-brainer. She was so giving, so thoughtful. If she had been an adult, she would have been an organ donor,'' said Caudell. "This, well this speaks to her character."

But that's about all Caudell is sure of these days, when sleep escapes her and words are difficult to come by and sentences harder to form.

Police are pushing for an arrest in the case that has galvanized many local ministers and neighborhood activists and has again shined a light on the issue of a pervasive no-snitch street culture that often hinders investigation into such crimes.

"Our homicide unit is working tirelessly to get more information on who was involved in this,'' said Cincinnati Police Lt. Steve Saunders. "At this point, we need as much information as possible. She was an innocent victim in this.

"Just a kid who was inside her home. Who does this?'' he asked rhetorically. "This is appalling to the community." Continue reading

Sunday, January 29, 2017

New hearts pumping for first patients of revived transplant program at KU Hospital


Kyle Warren talks about his heart failure and his experience with the heart transplant team at the University of Kansas Medical Center. After more than two decades, KU has a heart transplant program.Shane Keyser and Donna McGuire The Kansas City Star

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/health-fitness/article129309309.html#storylink=cpy

As a young man lingered near death — his heart barely pumping, other organs also failing — about two dozen members of the University of Kansas Health System’s multidisciplinary team debated what to do.

Was he too sick for anything but palliative care? No one wanted to tell the 30-year-old patient that.

Should he be transferred to a more-seasoned heart program, one experienced in treating such high-risk patients? Perhaps.

Or should they take him into surgery, implant a device to help his heart pump blood, try to nurse him back to better health and then — likely many months in the future, if he survived — give him a new heart?

At that point, University of Kansas Hospital had implanted only one such device, and it went to a low-risk patient after careful planning. The hospital hadn’t transplanted a heart in more than two decades, after shuttering its first program when news leaked that it had been turning away hearts for months while still adding patients to its transplant waiting list.

Now, several years into its transplant restart effort, health system officials wanted every step to go right. Those gathered in the conference room discussing the high-risk patient knew his case could derail their momentum if things went badly. Continue reading

Supt. Johnson Receives Numerous Offers For Kidney Donation


Mayor Rahm Emanuel helps Police Supt. Eddie Johnson to a seat after the superintendent appeared to nearly faint at a news conference. (Credit: CBS)
CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson could be receiving a kidney sooner than he thought.

After falling ill at a press conference on Friday from taking blood-pressure medicine on an empty stomach, Supt. Johnson announced an unrelated issue after a misconception – he lives with a kidney disease and is currently on a waiting list for a kidney transplant at Rush University Medical Center.

To his surprise, Johnson may be receiving the kidney he needs thanks to support from the community. WBBM’s Mike Krauser reports.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson attended late Saturday morning at Chicago Police Academy’s final open house event. Johnson spoke about his condition and the support and numerous offers of kidney donation he has received since announcing his condition.

“I can’t express enough how amazing it is, and how humbling of a feeling it is, to have so many people reach out to me personally and call headquarters,” Johnson said. “I was stunned.” Continue reading

Former NFL Coach Discusses Organ Donation At Pittsburgh Center


Photo credit: Tim Lawson / KDKA

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A former NFL coach who was the recipient of a heart transplant spoke about his experience at the Pittsburgh Center for Organ Recovery and Education on Saturday.

As a former player and coach in the NFL, Sam Wyche knows all about fighting battles. Wyche coached the Cincinnati Bengals from 1984 to 1991 and remembers some classic football wars with Chuck Noll and the Steelers.

“Chuck told me one time at a League meeting, ‘You realize you are the only coach that has a winning record against me, only active coach,’” Wyche said. “I said, ‘You got to be kidding me, all I remember is getting my butt kicked.’”

After his coaching days ended, Wyche fought his biggest battle.

In September 2016, he suffered severe heart failure and desperately needed a miracle. Continue reading



LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles resident Junior Fogg, who had been on an active kidney transplant waiting list for over five years, was furious to find that his apartment infested with bed bugs and other insects prevented him from receiving a new kidney.

Doctors told Fogg he will be placed back on the active waiting list as soon as he lives in a habitable and vermin-free apartment.

"I was at the tip top of the list, the tip top... If I had a place to go and it was germ-free enough for me to stay there, I would have no problem. I would not be going through this," Fogg said.

He was told bed bugs and cockroaches could cause him to suffer an infection while recovering from the transplant.

Now Fogg and his partner Monica Howland have filed a lawsuit against the building owners in an attempt to force them to clean up and treat the entire apartment building located on the 1900 block of Robertson Boulevard.

"I'm scared that I won't get that transplant," Fogg said.

The 54-year-old explained that for years he and other tenants have informed management and the building owners of the problems but they have not done enough. Continue reading 

Kirstie Tancock's family vow to step up organ donor campaigning despite setback

EXETER EXPRESS & ECHO |  Anita Merritt

The family of Kirstie Tancock have pledged to continue campaigning in her memory for a change in the organ donation system – despite the government confirming it currently has no plans to introduce an opt out system.

Kirstie, who received two double lung transplant operations during her short lifetime, passed away after suffering from chronic rejection on December 1.

In memory of the 27-year-old from Honiton, the Echo launched a campaign called Kirstie's Law which is calling for a new opt out system law in England, and it is just 400 signatures away from reaching its target of 5,000 supporters.

As well as providing their full backing for the Echo's Kirstie's Law, Kirstie's husband Stuart and mother Linda Freeman recently went to Wales which in December 2015 introduced presumed consent for organ donation unless people express otherwise.

During their visit to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, they met one of the men behind the change of law in Wales, consultant transplant surgeon Mike Stephens, and it was documented by ITV Westcountry News.

Mr Stephens said he was convinced a change in the law in England was possible. Continue reading

Saving Lives Through Organ Donation


Organ donation is the most generous gift one can give: the Gift of Life.

The members of the Sussex and Warren County Donate Life Group visited the Sussex County Sunflower Maze to deliver an important message. Continue reading

After a young Fresno husband and father died, tissues donated from his body helped many

FRESNO BEE | Barbara Anderson

As a young Fresno husband and father, James McLaughlan always thought of his family’s needs before his own, from giving his shirt to his wife in a rainstorm to racing after work to pick children up from cheerleading practice.

It made sense that McLaughlan, 27, would help others in death.

When McLaughlan died suddenly on Dec. 19 of what doctors suspect was a brain aneurysm – or a type of stroke – his family learned he had checked the organ/tissue donor box on his driver’s license.

Knowing her husband’s wishes made it easier for his wife, Alexi McLaughlan, 29, to give consent for the donation of his corneas, muscles, bone, skin and tissues. His heart and other vital organs were too damaged for donation.

“If it could help someone else, I was going to do it, but it was on his driver’s license so I knew that was what he wanted,” she says.

It’s likely that James McLaughlan’s selfless act has helped dozens. “A tissue donor can help up to 75 people on average,” says Noel Sanchez, public affairs manager at Donor Network West, an organ procurement and tissue recovery organization. Continue reading

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Deciding Who Gets Donor Organs: How Important Is Cognition?

MEDSCAPE | Pauline Anderson 

A new editorial tackles the thorny of question of whether cognitive competence should figure into the allocation of donor organs.

Scott D. Halpern, MD, PhD, and David Goldberg, MD, from the Departments of Medicine and Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, conclude that categorically denying access to deceased-donor organs solely on the basis of cognitive impairment is unacceptable.

In the commentary, published January 26 in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr Halpern and Dr Goldberg recommend creating independent regional boards to adjudicate disputes surrounding which patients should get an available organ.

Such boards, they said, could include transplant physicians from various regions, ethicists, behavioral psychologists, social workers, and community representatives. The boards, they added, could issue recommendations and provide a much-needed source of impartiality.

As it stands now, there are few mechanisms to hold transplant centers, which ultimately determine who gets an organ, accountable for their decisions, Dr Halpern told Medscape Medical News.

Sole Discretion

Since governments have wisely decided not to "meddle" in the appropriate decisional authority given to independent transplant centers, these centers "have essentially had sole discretion regarding who to put on their waiting list for organs," said Dr Halpern. Continue reading

Cupertino: BlueLight Cinemas screening film that sheds light on organ harvesting allegations

THE MERCURY NEWS | Kristi Myllenbeck

BlueLight Cinemas, at the Oaks Shopping Center in Cupertino, is hosting a free screening of “Hard to Believe,” a documentary about allegations of forced organ harvesting in China, on Feb. 8 from 7 to 9 p.m.

The screening is sponsored by Friends of Falun Gong, a nonprofit group founded in 2000 by Americans “to support the freedom of belief of persons who practice Falun Gong,” the website reads.

Art Cohen, CEO of BlueLight Cinemas, said the theater welcomes films that bring about discourse.

“We believe that education and entertainment are provided though documentaries that pertain to human rights, environment and social justice matters,” he said in an email to this newspaper. “BlueLight provides a venue to help educate our community regarding these very important issues. We are happy to serve our community in providing the venue for people to learn, discuss and debate in a safe and fun environment.”

According to the Friends of Falun Gong website, the spiritual practice, which was made public in 1992 and is practiced in more than 110 countries, includes adopting the values of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance while performing gentle exercises and meditation. Continue reading

Woman Kept Alive for Six Days Without Lungs While Surgeons Waited for Transplant Donor


For six excruciating days, a Canadian woman was kept alive without her lungs by surgeons desperate to save her while waiting for an organ donor.

Melissa Benoit, 33, suffered from cystic fibrosis, a congenital disorder that causes a thick build-up of mucus in the lungs. But her condition last spring was far worse than that – a bad bout of the H1N1 virus left her with severely infected lungs that couldn't function.

The infection had spread throughout her body and was resistant to antibiotics. Even a ventilator couldn’t provide her system with enough oxygen to survive.

Her organs, one by one, began to shut down. She was drowning in mucus, pus and blood, doctors said.

“Melissa was dying before our eyes,” said Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, a chief surgeon at Toronto General Hospital.

She desperately need a double transplant, but was too sick to undergo surgery. So physicians spoke with the woman’s family and suggested removing both of Benoit’s lungs - the source of her deadly infection - and keeping her alive with artificial breathing machines until a donor could be found. Continue reading

SF Gay Men’s Chorus Member Preps For Life-Saving Organ Donation


Ross Woodall (left) and David Andrade. (CBS)
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A member of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus is ready to make a life-saving donation, giving half his liver to the choir member he replaced, even though he never knew him.

Liver transplant patient Ross Woodall has waited almost a decade for this moment.

“8 years, 8 long years having to keep my phone with me 24/7 hoping for a call,” said Woodall.

That wait ends Friday as Dave Andrade prepares to donate half his liver to save Woodall’s life.

“It’s gonna hurt, but we both know that,” said Woodall.

“Life from here on out is going to be different,” admitted Andrade.

The invasive, painful surgery will have both men adjusting their diets and physical capabilities for the next six months.

“The painful transition from bed to chair to walking around slowly but surely,” said Andrade. “It’s not necessarily the removal of the liver that’s so dramatic; it’s that they have to cut through the abdominal wall to get to it” Continue reading

Babysitter saves infant’s life by donating part of her liver


Talia Rosko loves to laugh, to play and to cuddle up with her favorite blanket.

“She would go down for a nap and wake up with a smile," Kiersten Miles, Talia's babysitter, described.

This 16-month-old from Jackson, New Jersey shares quite the special bond with her babysitter.

“She’s like such a happy baby you really wouldn’t have known that anything was wrong with her," she said.

Kiersten Miles first met the Rosko family last June after a friend recommended her as a summer nanny.

“Ever since I started they have just welcomed me with open arms," Kiersten explained. "They’re outgoing and they’re just awesome.”

The then 21-year-old knew one of the three children would require a little extra attention.

“We brought [Talia] to her two-month well check up and our pediatrician right away said her eyes were off," George Rosko, Talia's father, remembered. “She said we have to go see a specialist immediately.” Continue reading

Get a ‘New Heart’ and save a life

UNION DAILY TIMES | Charles Warner

Donors sought for organ, tissue registry

Image courtesy of Donate Life South Carolina The heart logo on the left is symbolizes a South Carolinian’s desire to be an organ donor, but does not actually mean they have been placed on the SC Organ and Tissue Donor Registry. The heart logo on the right, however, symbolizes not only that a person is an organ donor but that they have been placed on the registry.
UNION — If you are an organ donor in South Carolina, does your driver’s license have an “Old Heart” or a “New Heart” on it?

On Friday, Jan 21, the Union County Healthcare Foundation held a “Donation Duel” pitting USC Gamecocks against Clemson Tigers to see which side could sign up the most organ donors. The Gamecocks won with 19 organ donors signed up to 13 for the Tigers. Since one organ donor can potentially save nine people’s lives, the 32 Gamecocks and Tigers who signed up Friday could potentially save as many as 288 lives.

In discussing the Donation Duel and its results, Foundation Director Greta Bailey also spoke about the importance of organ donors in Union County getting the right kind of heart on their driver’s license.

Bailey pointed to a “Facts About Donation” information sheet published by “Donate Life South Carolina,” a non-profit mandated by state law to maintain the South Carolina Donor Registry, which discusses why organ donors need to have the right kind of heart on their driver’s licenses. Continue reading

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Center to study impact of wage reimbursement for living organ donors


The National Living Donor Assistance Center (NLDAC) will conduct a randomized controlled trial that will assess the impact of interventions intended to remove financial barriers to living organ donation through wage reimbursement.

NLDAC was established in 2007 to administer a grant funded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration to provide greater access to transplantation for persons who want to donate, but cannot afford the travel and subsistence expenses associated with donation. It currently provides travel and subsistence funds for nearly 1000 people per year who wish to become living organ donors to offset their expenses related to donation.

Living donors usually travel at least three times to the transplant center and are required to stay near the hospital for up to two weeks after the transplant surgery for monitoring. They are unable to work during their donation and recovery time, and the loss of wages can be a significant financial barrier. This study will provide data to help answer the question of whether removing that barrier increases living donation in the United States. Continue reading

Young mom in need of kidney moves to Arizona for shorter transplant waitlist

KPNX | JR Cardenas

Angelica Ayala and her son. (Photo: Angelica Ayala/Special to 12 News)
At the age of 17, Angelica Ayala went in for what would turn out to be a life-changing physical exam just before basketball season started.

That physical exam resulted in a trip to Phoenix Children's Hospital where MRIs, lab tests and more exams ended with a diagnosis of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis or FSGS, which means scarring of your kidneys.

"We didn't know what to do, there's never been any history of this in my family, I was always happy," Angelica, a young mother of a 3-year-old boy, said.

"It's been a difficult ride, I was misdiagnosed at first, and was put on heavy medication that changed my mood, when the results came back, again my medication changed, it was a learning process for me all over."

Angelica was always involved in school sports. But as of five years ago, that all changed. Due to having FSGS, there are many things she has stopped doing.

"I can't be out in the sun a lot, or walk, or eat salt, it's difficult for me when I'm with my son, he's 3, he wants to do that and I can't. When I see my husband and son eating certain things, or my husband wants to go out I can't do those things," Angelica said in tears. "I just want to be normal." Continue reading

Partially Human Pig Embryos Might Change The Future Of Organ Transplants

YAHOO NEWS | International Business Times | Julianna Rose

GettyImages-10368623.  Stem cells are viewed on a computer screen at the University of Connecticut's Stem Cell Institute in Farmington, Connecticut, Aug. 27, 2010. Photo: Getty
The world is one step closer to a human animal hybrid, according to researchers at the Salk Institute in La, Jolla, California. Stem cell scientists created a pig embryo partially made up of human cells, successfully overcoming a major hurdle in growing human organs in animals for transplants.

“We see the human cells become the precursors of the cardiomyocytes – the heart – and also the liver, the pancreas and the gut,” Jason Wu, a scientist at the Salk Institute and the study’s lead author, told San Diego Public Radio. “So the potential is here.”

The research team, whose work was published Thursday in Cell magazine, is hoping to eventually be able to take human cells from a patient in need of a transplant then grow them in an animal embryo in order to transplant them back into the patient without being rejected.

The resulting pig embryo with human cells is known as a chimera, the name for an animal with a combination of cells from different species. However, the creation of chimeras, and research with stem cells in general, is not without issues. The topic is hotly debated and the ethics, to some, are murky. Stem cells come from a human blastula, the cluster of cells that grows from a fertilized egg. Critics of the research argue that using blastulas destroys what is technically an unborn child, while proponents say that a blastula is not yet a child.

Chimeras, on the other hand, run the risk of consciousness or having human-like features if a high enough concentration of human cells is added to the brain, according to a report published in Stem Cell Research and Therapy. Continue reading

Stanford researchers cure diabetes in mice using rat-grown organ

SLASH GEAR | Brittany A. Roston

Researchers with Stanford University and the University of Tokyo have announced a new breakthrough treatment that successfully cured mice of diabetes using a rat-grown mouse pancreas. The achievement could help lead to future treatments — or possibly even a cure — for diabetes in humans. Even better, these lab grown organs are genetically matched to the recipient, meaning anti-rejection drugs only need to be taken for a few days rather than one’s entire life.

The work is an exciting development not just for diabetes treatments, but also inter-species organ donations. Researchers have long envisioned a future in which human organs could be grown in sheep or pigs and then, once fully formed, transplanted into a human. That’s just what happened here, only it involved growing a mouse pancreas in a lab rat.

The way about which the researchers went ahead with this experiment was a bit macabre on the surface, though. The rats were genetically engineered so that they wouldn’t form their own pancreas. Instead, mouse pluripotent stem cells were implanted into the rat embryos, which then grew a pancreas using that material instead of its own. Continue reading

Doctor: Misconceptions discourage potential organ donors

WPRI | Shannon Hegy

(WPRI) — A candle glows every night in Allison Lindgren’s window, a reminder of the heart beating in her chest. At 30 years old, Lindgren will never forget about the 6-year-old girl she never met, whose organ saved her life.

“She was from the New Orleans area. To know that her heart 18 years later is still going in me, she must have a had a pretty strong heart,” said Lindgren.

Born with congenital heart disease, Lindgren needed a heart transplant at 11 years old. She was put on the list and skyrocketed to the top when her health plummeted, leaving her with just two weeks to live. That little girl from Louisiana was her saving grace, but others aren’t so lucky.

“It is a frustrating process when patients have to wait for a deceased donor,” Dr. Paul Morrisey said.

Morrissey knows that excruciating waiting game all too well. He’s been performing pancreas and kidney transplants at Rhode Island Hospital since doctors there first started performing them 20 years ago. Continue reading

'Donor Champions' find kidneys for family, friends


AURORA, Colo. -- Hundreds of people in Colorado need a life-saving kidney transplant, and their friends and family members aren't just sitting back and waiting.

A growing number of people are using new tactics to find a live donor, and research has shown that it works.

"Paul is on dialysis six days a week, and I am his care provider," said Cindy Ramsey Defeo, while attending a Donor Champion class at the University of Colorado Hospital Wednesday.

She and her husband, Paul, have been married for 28 years, and as his advocate, or his " live donor champion" as they are called, she is fighting for many more.

"Honestly, my hope and prayer is that someone feels that they could donate a kidney and feels they are called to do that," said Ramsey Defeo.

She has hope, even though the national wait list for a kidney is now approximately seven years.

"There are people that die every day waiting for a kidney," said Dr. James Cooper, a nephrologist at the University of Colorado Hospital, who pointed to a 2012 Johns Hopkins University program that showed personal advocates and community networks to find organ donors for loved ones resulted in success for nearly half of the participants in its trial run. "So that showed us, first of all, something like this can work, and when we took it in our own hands and did it ourselves, we've seen the same thing. It's been very encouraging." Continue reading