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Search is on for a live kidney donor for a LaSalle U. student from the Northeast

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A Northeast Philadelphia family whose college-aged son was about to get a kidney transplant from his mother was recently in the news.  The unique aspect was that he received his dad’s kidney 17 years ago and it failed so he needs a new one.  Testing initially revealed the mother was a match. They were so thrilled to be able to help their son because he currently has to get dialysis daily while attending LaSalle University full time.

Unfortunately, the family was told one week before the planned surgery that the mother was no longer a match.  The son, Kevin Brighter, had developed antibodies that made the donation impossible.  Now, there is an intense search for a person willing to become his donor.

The University of Pennsylvania has set up an online application for those interested.  To be a donor, a person must be 21 or older and in generally good health.   Kevin’s blood type is  B+  so only people with type  B or O, which is universal, need apply. More information is available at https://www.pennmedicine.org/~/media/documents%20and%20audio/patient%20forms/transplant/livingkidneydonorapplication.ashx?la=en

Currently, there is about a five-year waiting list for kidneys from traditional donations, which are from deceased donors. That means many patients may die waiting for a kidney from a deceased donor. This is why living donations are becoming more and more common.  Sometimes, a donation chain begins with the first donation and then a family member decides to help another person, and gets tested and becomes another’s donor, and down the line. The record for such chains happened in 2015 in Alabama when 51 people donated down the line from the first donation, according to the University of Alabama News: https://www.uabmedicine.org/-/donors-help-extend-uab-kidney-chain-to-record-51-transplants).

Dozens have signed up and have begun testing to try to help Brighter.  The whole process can take two weeks because those who appear to be matches have to have full medical work ups. The insurance of the person receiving the kidney usually covers everything, so the donor does not have to worry about the cost.

The surgery lasts about two hours, with about two days after surgery in ICU and then five more days of recovery in the hospital.  Most people can return to work within three to eight weeks following the surgery, according to the National Kidney Foundation.. The patient receiving the kidney has to take immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of his/her life.  The organ recipient sees the doctors very often the year following transplant, then yearly with lots of blood work in between, according to the kidney.org website.  The donor has no further follow up once they recover from surgery. Donors can live their entire lives with one good kidney so the fear that they might need it in the future usually does not apply.

Kevin Brighter’s family has a Facebook page that shares information about this https://www.facebook.com/Kevinskidneycrew/

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Search is on for a live kidney donor for a LaSalle U. student from the Northeast