Hello there, my name is Risa! Pictured above in my awkward selfie glory. I’m a 30 year old artist working out of Kansas and I’m about to do a big thing: donate my kidney.
What exactly are you doing...
Other than the obvious part in which one of my two kidneys will be transferred to someone else, what I will be doing is called a non-direct or altruistic donation. This just means I’m entering this process without a specific recipient in mind. Though ultimately the decisions on where my kidney will go is up to the very capable team at the KU Medical Center, it’s my hope that this will help facilitate what’s called a paired donation or kidney chain. These can be easier to do with a donor like myself and may possibly help encourage a longer chain.
But why are you doing this bonkers thing?
The short of it is, I listen to a lot of podcasts and, about four years ago, I came across one which piqued my curiosity. I looked into it at that time and determined that I wasn't in a good place to persue it. The surgery seemed intimidating, it requires time off of work, and I wanted to be in a more stable living situation so I passed on it.
Four years later, it kept cropping up for me. People in my orbit with related issues, news stories, etc kept it fresh in my mind until I felt comfortable enough to jump in.
The why of it basically this: I just want to do some concrete good in this world especially right now when the world feels especially bleak. This is a thing I can do.
There are some drawbacks and hardships from it, some lifestyle, health, and diet changes I’m prepared to make. I can handle those. But there’s one thing I could use help on which is why I’m here.
What I need from fundraising...
For very good moral reasons it’s very illegal to receive money for organ donation. It's a very good rule and one I respect totally. Good news is that all medical costs before and around the surgery itself are covered by the hospital and the recipient’s insurance.
What isn’t covered is the 4-6 weeks unpaid recovery time that I will need to take off work as well as small expenses relating to travel. I work two jobs, one as an artist at a printing company and another as a part time illustrator. So what I am asking for here is to just recoup the costs of lost work. Nothing more.
Without your help my plan is to go into credit card debt to cover the time off work. Your donations will help me avoid that.
When do I need this by...
I’ve gotten approval to do surgery around January/February 2019. We won’t have an exact date till much closer as the team at the hospital try to coordinate the best possible outcome.
If for whatever reason, something keeps me from doing this surgery I will of course return any donations.
What can you do if you can't donate...
First off, I do not want any donations that are going to harm you financially. If you don't have expendable cash at the moment that's absolutely understandable and 100% fine. What you can do to help me is to spread the links of the campaign either through this website.
Otherwise, I please ask that anyone who runs across this, please consider educating yourself on living organ donation and sign up to be an organ donor the next time you have the chance.
Some more info on the process and what I've done so far...
For those curious, here's kind of a rundown on what I've done so far in this process. First thing I did was anxiously consider this for a month. I am the queen of anxiously considering my options so this took quite a long time. After that I did some research on reputable places, luckily found out KU had a stellar program, and contacted them.
Across another month, we did a long questionnaire, went over my family's history, did a few in home tests such as a 24 hour blood pressure monitor. Then we just did ALL of the tests. 23 vials of blood, x-ray, CT scan, and a psych eval. I met with two social workers, a pharmacist, a dietitian, a surgeon, and a nephrologist, as well as the donor coordinators, all part of this extremely impressive, professional, and kind team.
After I was just extremely thoroughly vetted I was okayed to proceed! I'll provide further updates here as the process proceeds.
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