Illinois Man Will Receive The First Ever International Kidney Transplant From A Canadian Stranger Found On A Commercial Website MatchingDonors.com.
July 22, 2005 Health News(PRLEAP.COM) Canton, MA - July 22, 2005
Bill Lundborg’s kidneys are failing, and he needs a transplant. On July 22nd, at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago, he will receive his transplant because of a stranger from Canada that he met on MatchingDonors.com - Trent Fenwick from Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada who will give a kidney to Lundborg, a man he’s never met.
MatchingDonors.com has negotiated free airfare, for the donor to get to the transplant, through Continental Airlines.
This will be the first international kidney transplant from a stranger found on a commercial website MatchingDonors.com. This will be MatchingDonors 13th match that has gone on to surgery.
The profile that Bill Lundborg wrote on MatchingDonors.com read, “I am 46 years old 6'6 and 270 lbs. I am married and have two beautiful children, my son Connor is two years old and my daughter is three months old. I found out I had PKD about two years ago and had gotten it from my fathers side of the family (he died at age 43 in 1973). We now believe it was from complications of PKD that ended his life early but back then he was not tested for this. The doctors have given me about three to four months before I will need Dialysis, I am extremely fearful of dialysis because I work for a small company and I don’t think they will work through this issue with me giving me the opportunity to support my family. My wife and my half-sister (my only living relative) were going to donate one of their kidneys but they are A blood type and is not a match for me. In my earlier years I did not want to have children because I was afraid that something would happen to me and I did not want them to grow up in the same situation that I did. When I met my wife these fears went away and we decided to start a family. My children and my wife are my life, and now, all I want is to be there for my children as they grow up and not put them in the same situation I was in or not be able to have the quality of life they deserve”.
Trent read Bill’s story on MatchingDonors.com and wrote back: “I am learning that in life many people do not have the opportunity to reach all of their goals and dreams because of health issues I have been given the gift of having healthy organs and I would like to help someone attain their full potential and maybe some of their dreams, My brother in-law passed away many years ago and I know that he was an organ donor, so I know his organs gave someone a new lease on life. I donate blood quite regularly and I understand the gift of life. This opportunity I have to help someone is truly a blessing on me.”
MatchingDonors.com is a year-old Internet service based in Massachusetts. Patients on transplant lists put their profiles on the website, and potential donors browse the site for a life they want to help save. Donors are not compensated, since it is against the law to have any financial benefit from organ donation.
Dr. Jeremiah Lowney, one of the Web site founders, said “Patients are asked to pay a membership fee, but they don't pay a fee if they can't afford it.” Many praise MatchingDonors.com as a creative, entrepreneurial response to this deadly disparity, and 100% of the money paid for patient memberships is applied to running the site.
Since MatchingDonors.com’s inception, directed living organ donations have increased to historic numbers. According to Unos.org, from January 5, 2005 to April 15, 2005 out of the 1,164 donors recovered for transplantation 650 were from deceased donors and 514 were from living donors.
“We believe that if more people were better educated on the ability to be a live organ donor, and we add in the personal communication between potential organ donors and patients needing an organ, the number of donors will increase and so will the probability of a patient receiving their much needed organ. We already have over 2,100 potential donors on our site waiting to find patients needing organs”, said Dr. Jeremiah Lowney, MatchingDonors.com’s Medical Director. “MatchingDonors.com is the most comprehensive searching system available. Other organizations concentrate mainly on the passive anonymous portion of finding organ donors - leaving little or no communication between patients and potential donors”.
MatchingDonors.com has had incredible success in it’s first 12 months:
1. MatchingDonors.com has an extremely high success rate - most patient members that have been on the site for at least 30 days have been offered an organ by a potential donor.
2. At least 21 of our patient members have upcoming surgery dates with their donors found on MatchingDonors.com.
3. Immediately after its first surgery in October 2004, MatchingDonors had over 2 million visitors on a weekly basis.
4. MatchingDonors.com now has over 100 patients with active profiles and over 2,180 potential donors on the site. New patients and potential donors sign up daily.
5. MatchingDonors.com is recommended and used by many doctors across the United States, including some of the most prestigious transplant surgeons and centers.
As of June 30, 2005, there are roughly 88,772 patients waiting for an organ transplant in the United States. Yet, from January 2005 to April 15, 2004, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, a non-profit organization contracted with the US Department of Health, there were only 2,273 organ transplants performed in the United States. Every day, 17 people die while waiting for a transplant of a vital organ, such as a heart, liver, kidney, pancreas, or lung. This creates a national crisis that has led even President Bush to publicly encourage private organizations to raise awareness of the important need for organ and tissue donors.
Currently, patients waiting for an organ donation are placed on a national waiting list through the United Network for Organ Sharing. A computer system matches patients to donor organs according to objective criteria such as blood and tissue type, immune status, medical urgency and time spent on the waiting list. This ranking system determines which patients are offered available organs. This process is extremely important in anyone’s organ search, but now MatchingDonors.com offers a way to enhance the search with a more active approach.
MatchingDonors.com’s main objective is to search the world to find potential live donors for people in need of organ transplants. Patient members of MatchingDonors.com provide a personal biography as well as pictures of their choice to display on the website, which will create an interest in them and their life story. When patients in need of an organ transplant place themselves into MatchingDonors.com’s database, their information will be promoted on the website. MatchingDonors.com advertises and promotes its Web site in many different ways through extensive public relations networking to increase potential donor’s viewing the site.
The personal connection MatchingDonors.com provides is key to finding a potential live donor. According to the National Kidney Foundation, "Nearly one out of four (23.4%) of 1000 people queried told pollsters that they would be "likely" to consider donating a kidney or a portion of their liver or lung to help save the life of someone they did not know." Many people feel more comfortable considering offering a live donation to someone they may have a connection to or a common bond. Some examples are members of the same hometown, employment, interests, religion, race, hobbies, organizational memberships, family life, etc.
MatchingDonors.com’s Medical Director, Dr. Jeremiah Lowney, is available for interviews; print, radio and television before and after the surgery. Please contact Doctor Lowney at 781-821-2204 to set up interviews. An NPR radio interview about MatchingDonors can be found at http://www.theconnection.org/shows/2005/02/20050222_b_main.asp .
Both the patient and donor can be interviewed; their contact information can be obtained by calling MatchingDonors.com at 781-821-2204. Many of our patients and donors are willing to speak with the press. Contact information about our patients and donors may be obtained by calling MatchingDonors.com at 781-821-2204.
When patients provide their biography and open up personally, the potential for live donors to respond is increased. To help educate people about the option of live organ donation, MatchingDonors.com’s Web site provides extensive information regarding the safety and types of donations available.
Membership on MatchingDonors can cost less than $9 per day. MatchingDonors.com is not an organ donor waiting list, and is not associated with any organ donor organization. It is a nonprofit venue where patients and potential donors can communicate and hopefully expedite a live donor agreeing to give a much-needed organ. MatchingDonors.com gives patients and potential donors the important communication tools to correspond with each other, but once the contact between the parties has been made, the road to transplant surgery is their own.
Based in Canton, Mass., MatchingDonors.com is a nonprofit corporation with people based throughout the United States. Anyone interested in donating money to support MatchingDonors.com services can do so by calling Matchingdonors.com at 781-821-2204.
More information about the company is available at its corporate Web site, http://www.MatchingDonors.com.
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Robert Volosevich, Jr.