Tips for finding a living donor
If you are in need of a kidney transplant, finding a living donor can sound scary and overwhelming. Where should you start and what’s the best way to share your story with the world? In this episode, you will hear from transplant recipients who once stood in your shoes.
In this episode, we spoke with:
Dorothy Muench, LCSW
Dori Muench is a post-transplant social worker with the Abdominal Organ transplant department with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for the past 5 years. In this capacity, she works with numerous individuals who have received a kidney or pancreas transplant and works to provide concrete and emotional support. Before this, Dori worked in dialysis for close to 10 years and has seen and heard the effects people have while on dialysis. She works hard to advocate for people to be transplant and find living donors so they can decrease as much time on dialysis as possible. Dori lives in North Carolina with her husband, 2 daughters and golden retriever.
At the age of 14, Gisela was rushed to the emergency room after having Coca Cola colored urine. It took 6 months of various testing to eventually be diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy via kidney biopsy. The doctors told her and her parents that there was no cure, no proven treatment and that this disease would likely lead to kidney failure in 20-25 years. This was very upsetting and also left the family with a lot of unanswered questions. At the age of 30, Gisela was then rushed to the emergency room with flu-like symptoms. The doctors flagged GFR and Creatinine levels. She was then put on a course of meds to help with Proteinuria and to treat high blood pressure. At the age of 38 Gisela reached end stage kidney failure requiring a kidney transplant. Luckily she was able to receive a pre-emptive transplant from a living donor (her brother). For those that do not know - a kidney transplant is still considered a type of treatment for kidney failure. Today Gisela is a huge advocate for living donation and volunteers with The IgA Nephropathy Foundation as their Director of Brand + Creative. She looks forward to being “in the room where it happens” as the foundation is working hard with several Pharmaceutical partners to not only finding treatment but a cure for IgA Nephropathy.
Morgan Reid joined the National Kidney Foundation as the Director of Transplant Policy & Strategy in November 2021. In this role, Morgan will implement strategies and help create policies that promote equitable access to quality kidney healthcare and transplantation. Before joining NKF, Morgan worked for two Organ Procurement Organizations and a well-known transplant center. She has a deep passion for improving organ donation and transplant processes. A dear college friend donated a kidney to Morgan on January 9, 2007, after several years of dealing with an IgA Nephropathy diagnosis with nearly two years on peritoneal dialysis. She will use her personal experience and professional expertise to advocate for underserved communities that face barriers to kidney transplantation.
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