In the U.S., according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) as of today at 9:57.am there were 105,687 patients on the waiting list for an organ transplant. A whopping 83,320 of these are waiting for a kidney transplant. I've heard about patients waiting seven years or more for a kidney so Tom Wirt, the recipient who went on line and his altruistic living donor, Cindy Love, greatly improved the odds by registering with Matching Donors.
By: Ellery McCardle
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Everyday thousands of people are waiting to get an organ transplant. While the national list is long, now there's a new way to make a perfect match. A local man found a kidney donor online.
"She called me and told me who she was and that she would like to offer me a kidney and I thought 'Wow'," says Tom Wirt, a Lewiston, MN man who will get a kidney transplant on Wednesday.
For three years, Wirt has been waiting for a new kidney. In 1992, he was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, a condition that causes deterioration of the kidneys. In October 2008, he had to start dialysis three times a week. But Wednesday the wait will be over.
"I just finished dialysis this morning at 10 o'clock and that'll be my last dialysis," he says.
For Cindy Love, she watched her nephew go through kidney failure, but when she wasn't a match, she researched online. She came to Rochester all the way from Orlando, Florida to donate her kidney. Doctors at Mayo Clinic say there are 12,000 kidney transplants in the U.S. each year.
"If I just take that one step further and somebody needs it why not donate it to them," says Love.
So she went to matchingdonors.com, a website where donors can find matches and she found Wirt.
"When I got accepted and got the phone call I was like 'Yes I've been accepted,'" says Love.
Mayo Doctor, Mikel Prieto says kidney transplants are in higher demand today than ever.
"It's primarily increasing because we tend to get more kidney disease when we get older and because there's more people," says Dr. Prieto, Surgical Director of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program.
He says there are 400 people on the Mayo Clinic waiting list just for kidney transplants.
But for Tom, he won't be on a list anymore.
"She could have chose anybody in the world that needed a kidney and she chose me," he says.
“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here
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Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves
Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.