My Grandpa Needs A Kidney

Jim's Story

Leafy green vegetables, green tea, nuts and dark chocolate - most of you reading this would think that
these are all good for you foods. In my case they were the cause of my acute kidney failure.


I am a 74 year old male in very good health - except for my kidneys. I do not smoke or drink. My kids would joke that all I would eat when we went out for dinner was fresh wild salmon and raw vegetables. 


I am reaching out today in hopes of finding a living kidney donor. My blood type is O so I can only
receive a kidney from someone with an O blood type. However, there is a process called pairing where a
donor with a blood type other than O can donate to another person and I will receive a kidney from another
type O donor.


I have many things that I still want to accomplish in my life especially watching and participating in the
growth of my two beautiful granddaughters.


All donation costs are covered by my insurance and I will pay for any costs incurred by a donor not
covered by insurance.


Please follow my Facebook group and share my post on your own page so that many more people can have access to my story.

 

Photos

 

Become A Living Donor

How To Begin The Process of Living Kidney Donation

1. FIND OUT YOUR BLOOD TYPE

 

You will need to have a blood test done to determine your blood type. Your doctor or any walk-in-clinic can help you arrange this test. Or, you may you already know your type because you are a blood donor. You can also purchase online kits from Amazon here. Jim's blood type is )+ which means he can only receive a kidney from an individual with an O+ blood type. *IF YOU ARE NOT AN O+ BLOOD TYPE, YOU ARE STILL ABLE TO HELP. This can be done through the Paired Kidney Exchange Program. Please contact the Donation Coordinator below for more info. 

2. CONTACT THE LIVING KIDNEY DONOR PROGRAM

Contact the Living Kidney Donor Program at Froedtert Hospital (information below) and ask to speak to the Donation Coordinator at 414-805-0310. 

Let them know you would like to start the kidney donation process for:

JAMES (JIM) IPPOLITE

Born on December 30, 1946

 

The coordinator will tell you about the organ donation process and ask you some questions about your general health. 

​​​​​​​​​***Please note if you are uncomfortable contacting the hospital yourself for any reason, we are more than willing to help start the process for you. Please contact Jim Ippolite at (414) 803-8446 / ippo1@aol.com.

 

*You are also able to be an anonymous donor if you choose, and are free to withdraw from the process at any time.

For more information about Living Kidney Donor Program, please click here.

2. IN-PERSON MEDICAL TESTING

​​​After you contact the transplant center and decide that you are interested in donating a kidney, a full evaluation of in-person medical testing to ensure that you are compatible to donate. All results of testing will be kept completely confidential and not be shared with the recipient.

If you are not compatible to donate to the desired donor, you can still be eligible to donate through a paired exchange program. The program involves two pairs of living donors and their recipients. The two recipients “swap” donors so that each receives a kidney from a compatible donor. If this is an option for you, your transplant team will coordinate the entire process, including finding the matching pair.

How long does the evaluation process take?

The length of time it takes to complete the evaluation process is different for each person. It will depend on your availability for testing, the results of your tests, and the individual policies and procedures of the transplant center involved. 

 

What happens after the evaluation is complete?

Your test results will be sent to the transplant team, who will review them carefully. They will make a decision about your physical health and suitability as a donor. If you are a suitable candidate for living donation, and you decide to go ahead with it, an operation will be scheduled. The final decision to proceed will be a group decision among you, your recipient, and the transplant team.

Benefits of Living Kidney Donation

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Over 5,000 people die every year waiting for a kidney transplant. 


Living kidney donation has revolutionized kidney transplantation and is now preferred when compared to a deceased donor transplant.

  • You only need ONE kidney to live a healthy, normal and active life!

  • A kidney from a living donor lasts twice as long as a deceased donor.

  • Surgery to remove a kidney is minimally invasive.

  • Short and long term survival rates are significantly higher for transplants from living donors than transplants from deceased donors. (Approx 18 years from a living donor, compared to 12 years from a deceased donor)

  • Living donor kidneys start functioning immediately, whereas deceased donor kidneys can take from a few days to a few weeks to start functioning. (Often called a Sleepy Kidney)

  • Shortens the waiting time for others on the kidney transplant waiting list. (Can take over 10 years to receive a kidney, and some never do)

  • Health deteriorates the longer someone remains on dialysis.

  • A kidney transplant doubles the life expectancy compared to staying on kidney dialysis treatment.

  • The recipient has time to plan for the transplant & the surgery can be scheduled at a mutually-agreed upon time rather than performed on an emergency basis.

  • Waiting for a deceased donor can be very stressful and unhealthy.

  • The most important aspect of living donation is the psychological benefit. The recipient can experience positive feelings knowing that the gift came from a loved one or a caring stranger. The donor experiences the satisfaction of knowing that he or she has saved the life of the recipient.

 

FAQ's

1. Do I need to be a blood relative to be a living donor?

No. A living kidney donor may be a relative or a person who is not related to the recipient. In the case of a non-relative, it is best that the donor has an emotional relationship with the recipient. 

2. What type of tests will I need in order qualify as a donor?

If an initial screening determines that you are a potential candidate, you will undergo tests for two primary reasons. First, a set of tests will confirm that your body is healthy enough for the donation process and for life with just one kidney. Second, you will undergo several tests to determine your compatibility with a potential kidney recipient. 

3. What tests are conducted to assess my health?

You care team will want to make sure that your kidneys, heart, lungs, circulatory system and overall physical and mental health are strong. Tests they may request for this reason include a urine test, blood test, chest X-ray, electrocardiogram (EKG), psychosocial evaluation, cancer screening, computed tomography (CT) scan, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. 

4. What tests will determine my compatibility with a recipient?

Several blood tests are conducted to determine how closely you match the potential recipient. The closer the match, the less chance of rejection for the recipient. Your blood will be tested to confirm your blood and tissue type, to determine crossmatching, and to detect the presence of antibodies and possible transmittable diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. These tests are highly sophisticated and are offered through collaboration with the BloodCenter of Wisconsin. 

5. What is crossmatching?

Crossmatching is a blood test conducted prior to transplant to determine if a potential recipient will react to the donor's organ. A 'positive" crossmatch indicates that the donor and recipient are not compatible, because the recipient's body will produce antibodies that will immediately reject the donor's organ. If the crossmatch is "negative", the transplant may proceed. In some cases, therapies may be used with positive crossmatches to hinder the production of antibodies and make it possible for transplant to proceed. You and your intended recipient may also consider entering into a donor exchange.  

6. What are the risks to the living donor?

Based on information currently available, the overall risks associated with kidney donation are relatively low. The risks are the same as those with any other type of surgery, including pneumonia, blood-clots, side-effects of amnesia and post-operative pain. The risk of death is one in 3000. These risks are fully discussed with the donor during evaluation. 

7. How will donation effect my life in the long term?

Transplant centers are required to report  living donor follow-up for two years, which will require routine office visits, laboratory tests, and other possible interaction for you. Your care team would like to be your transplant resource for life, however, and will be available to you for questions and care for as long as you would like. Donors are not more likely to develop kidney disease in the future just because they have one remaining kidney. In fact, statistically, living donors have a longer life expectancy than the general population. That is because the evaluation process for donors selects individuals who have above-average health. 

8. Will kidney donation affect my mental health?

The decision to donate a kidney is one of the biggest you will make i your life. If the transplant does not succeed for some reason or you have resulting medical problems, you may have feelings of regret, resentment, or anger and may experience anxiety or depression The majority of living donations are successful and you can anticipate feeling positive about giving the gift of life to someone in need. your donation will also help reduce the waiting list for other donors. 

9. What lifestyle changes should I anticipate?

When a kidney is removed, the remaining kidney will increase in size to make up for the donated kidney. Many experts recommend that anyone with a single kidney to avoid activities that could injure the remaining kidney. Good long-term medical follow-up with an annual urine test, blood test and blood pressure check is recommended. Pregnancy following the donation is permissible, but experts recommend that women wait at least six months and have excellent pre-natal care. Donors in good health do not usually need dietary restrictions, but maintaining your ideal weight through healthy nutrition and exercise will help you feel your best after donation.

10. Can I talk to someone who has been through the process?

Yes, ask your transplant coordinator to put you in touch with others who have been live kidney donors through our program. Additionally you can read stories submitted by hundreds of living donors by visiting transplantliving.org

 

11. What financial and insurance factors should I consider? Where do I go with questions?

The recipient's insurance will cover your evaluation, surgery, follow-up tests and medical appointments. Expenses such as travel, lodging, childcare, and lost wages are typically not covered by the recipient's insurance. If medical problems occur as a result of your donation, your insurance and your recipient's insurance may or may not cover treatment. Your transplant coordinator can answer your insurance and financial questions, or can refer you to a financial liaison or other resource with Froedtert Hospital. Before making a final decision about donation, be sure to talk. to talk to your own health and life insurance carriers about the short- and long-term implications of donation. It is a good idea to talk to your employer, too, especially if you work for the military, police or fire departments or in very physically demanding jobs.   

12. What financial and insurance factors should I consider? Where do I go with questions?

The recipient's insurance will cover your evaluation, surgery, follow-up tests and medical appointments. Expenses such as travel, lodging, childcare, and lost wages are typically not covered by the recipient's insurance. If medical problems occur as a result of your donation, your insurance and your recipient's insurance may or may not cover treatment. Your transplant coordinator can answer your insurance and financial questions, or can refer you to a financial liaison or other resource with Froedtert Hospital. Before making a final decision about donation, be sure to talk. to talk to your own health and life insurance carriers about the short- and long-term implications of donation. It is a good idea to talk to your employer, too, especially if you work for the military, police or fire departments or in very physically demanding jobs.  

Living Kidney Donor Selection Criteria

Indications:

1. Healthy adult at least 18 years of age with mental ability to make an informed decision

2. No evidence of coercion (feeling guilty or forced into donation)

Relative contraindications: 

1. History of sickle cell trait (long-term, incurable blood disease)

2. Morbid Obesity (BMI > 35)

3. Blood type (ABO) or tissue typing (HLA) incompatibility with the intended recipient, which may allow for desensitization or participation in a paired kidney exchange program

4. History of kidney stones 

5. Strong family history of diabetes mellitus or hypertension

6. Active peptic ulcer issues

7. Urological abnormalities

8. Family history or renal cell cancer

 

Absolute contraindications: 

1. Uncontrolled hypertension or history of hypertension with end-organ damage

2. Diabetes mellitus

3. High suspicion of illegal financial exchange between donor and recipient

4. Blood in urine

5. Disorders requiring anticoagulation

6. Any chronic, active viral condition

7. Less than 18 years old and/or incapable of making informed decisions

8. History of hypertension and end-organ damage

9. Active or incompletely treated cancer

10. Pregnancy

11. Impaired renal function (defined as GFR < 80 ml/min/1.73 m2)

12. Nephrocalcinosis (calcium deposits in kidney filtering units), bilateral kidney stones, or recurrent kidney stones

13. Active substance abuse

14. History of malignancy arising from the lung, breast or renal organs

15. Evidence of acute symptomatic infection (until resolved)

16. HIV infection

17. High suspicion of coercion

18. Large amounts of protein urine

19. Markedly abnormal urologic and renal(kidney) vascular abnormalities

20. Chronic illness, particularly pulmonary, liver, autoimmune, neurological or cardiac

21. History of malignancy arriving from urological, gastrointestinal or hematological organs

22. Diagnosable psychiatric conditions requiring treatment before donation

Other factors may impact a patient's suitability for living donation and each patient must be evaluated on an individual basis. The decision on eligibility for transplantation will be based on the patient's overall current medical conditions.