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Living Donation: 4 Ways to Talk about Needing a Kidney Donation

Talking with family and friends about finding a kidney donor might seem intimidating at first. Not everyone may fully understand your needs or where you are coming from, but that doesn't mean they don't care. And it could be revealed that they or someone they know are willing to donate their kidney. Expressing your thoughts, feelings and needs can help make for a smoother search for a living kidney donor.

Use these tips to help you have a dialogue about your need for a kidney donation: 

1.  Share your story

Explain what chronic kidney disease (CKD) is like for you. You may have family members or friends who are unaware of or who don't know the full extent of your current situation. They may have a hard time empathizing and understanding your health needs. Be open, be honest, answer questions they might have and understand they may need some time to process the information. 

2.  Find an advocate

An advocate can be a voice when you aren't sure what to do or say next. Your advocate can help ask your kidney transplant team the right questions, find answers and information about your health, speak with potential kidney donors and be an ally throughout your transplantation process. Whether it's a loved one, coworker or a hired professional, you should feel comfortable around them, trust them and allow them to lend a hand when you really need them to.   

3.  Spread the word

It may take some time and resources to find the right living donor; so casting the net far by creating a card or flier with your name, blood type and advocate or champion contact information to distribute to family, friends, coworkers and others to help spread the word faster, and let as many people as possible know about your needs. If you or your advocate use social media websites such as Facebook or Instagram, you can also share your story on those platforms. People you network with can easily share it and the possibility of finding a willing living donor can increase greatly.

4.  Talk with your potential donors

Finding a match for a kidney donation requires going through several tests, examinations and evaluations to make sure the recipient and donor are genetically a match. If you've found a person who is a potential donor, it's important to help answer any questions they may have, show gratitude for their support and let them know your relationship will not change if he or she isn't a match. Keeping an open and positive dialogue with your donors will help contribute to a better transplantation process.

It takes courage to talk to others about your health, particularly when you are seeking a kidney donation. Being open and honest about your search, as well as finding support, may help you track down a living kidney donor, whether they're in your immediate family or someone who found your story on social media.

Know someone who would like to donate a kidney? Visit the National Kidney Registry to start the process.

Want to become an organ donor? Visit OrganDonor.gov to sign up.

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