• 3rd August 2009 - By Jan Andrew

    Every time I renew my driver’s license and click on organ donation, I feel good that I might be able to help someone survive when I pass on.  But I recently learned that there’s much more you can do.  And it’s urgent!

    My former business partners and good friends David Hamlin and Sydney Weisman in Los Angeles recently reached out to their friends and colleagues by e-mail to alert them that their son Jason’s kidney transplant is failing and he has started a blog he calls “I need a kidney.”

    Jason is an amazingly tough guy.  I knew him when he was still in college and had already had his first transplant. In gratitude, at Christmas David and Sydney would send out information on the National Kidney Foundation and they urged friends to make donations for kidney research.  I remain in awe of this family’s total dedication to their son’s fight and their determination to raise awareness on kidney donations.

    Today Jason is married, is helping raise one daughter and his wife is expecting a baby any day.  The last kidney transplant, four years ago started out badly as it seemed to be rejecting his body, but amazingly it has kept him off dialysis for four years and is just now failing.

    He has maybe a month left before dialysis begins and he writes…”I’m going to work and push and live, and hold my family.  And after that? Same deal.  I’ll continue to doggedly pursue stories about transplants, I’ll push and scrape and make noise about kidney failure. I’ll share with you what dialysis looks like and express my hope for the next kidney…”

    Luckily the urgency of organ donations is finally getting some coverage -  the hit NBC Network show 30 Rock, for instance,  has a campaign going with a music video called “He Needs a Kidney”  in partnership with the National Kidney Foundation http://www.kidney.org/

    But much more attention needs to be paid.  Too many transplant recipients face excruciating waits of months and even years and not all of them will survive.

    I hope you’ll read Jason’s blog http://ineedakidney.wordpress.com. and understand that if you are a match, you can immediately save a life.  Even if you aren’t a match for Jason, he points out that hospitals like UCLA will line you up with a match – there are far too many people waiting.

    Jason further writes  in one of his blogs that every single person on the transplant list could be off that list this year with less than one percent of the U.S. population donating – a fact he notes is both infuriating and hopeful: “Politics, laws, ethics and social customs could change oh-so-slightly to make such a huge difference in so many people’s lives – why don’t we just do it?”  Good point, Jason.

    Just in:  You can see Jason and Rebecca on the website http://www.iwearyourshirt.com/

    Just click on the calendar on the top of the home page and look for August 9th – that’s the date friends of his bought for him as part of the website promotion.

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