Louisville, Ky. (December 11, 2013) — KentuckyOne Health facilities in Louisville are working this holiday season to build awareness about giving the ultimate gift: the gift of life. Whether it be signing up for the state’s donor registry, or participating in a living donation, organ donation can truly give someone a new lease on life.
According to Donate Life, every 10 minutes in America, another name is added to the National Transplant List and on average, 18 people die every day from the lack of available organs for transplant. More than 120,000 people in the United States are currently on the waiting list for a lifesaving organ transplant.
While most organ donations happen after death, Kentucky residents can also make a living donation. Living donors may donate a kidney, or a part of the liver, lung, intestine, blood or bone marrow. About 6,000 living donations take place each year, most commonly when a relative or friend donates to a loved one. Donating to a stranger is more rare. Less than 10 percent of living donations are non-directed.
“Organ donation is a very generous gift,” said Michael Hughes, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at University of Louisville, director of living donors and transplant surgeon. “Many individuals may not realize that you don’t have to know someone in need to be a donor.”
Before someone makes a living donation, he or she must undergo extensive tests to ensure that they are in adequate physical and mental health, and that the donation will not adversely affect their wellbeing in the long term.
Candy Campbell, a Louisville resident, donated one of her kidneys to a stranger in December 2011 at the Trager Transplant Center at Jewish Hospital, also part of KentuckyOne Health.
“This was an easy decision for me,” Campbell said. “I am healthy and someone else has 15 hours a week of dialysis and does not have the quality of life that I do."
Campbell became an advocate for living donation after learning about her co-workers need for a transplant. Two years later, Candy is living a healthy life, with no side effects from her surgery.
Hughes conducted Campbell’s portion of the transplant procedure.
“The kindness of people like Candy allows us to continue our ground-breaking work in transplantation,” said Hughes. “Thanks to their generous acts, we can save lives and help more patients in need of a transplant.”
For Kentuckians, joining the Kentucky Donor Registry is as easy as logging on to the donatelifeky.org or signing up when you renew your driver’s license. The donor registry enables your family members to know that you chose to save and enhance lives through donation.
About KentuckyOne Health
KentuckyOne Health was formed when two major Kentucky health care organizations came together in early 2012. KentuckyOne Health combines the Jewish and Catholic heritages of the two former systems – Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System. In late 2012, the organization formed a partnership with the University of Louisville Hospital | James Graham Brown Cancer Center. The nonprofit system is committed to improving the health of Kentuckians by integrating medical research, education, technology and health care services wherever patients receive care. KentuckyOne Health has more than 200 locations including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies, with nearly 15,000 employees across the state of Kentucky and southern Indiana. KentuckyOne Health is the largest health system in Kentucky.