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Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Brother Seeks Kidney Transplant Donor

by Christopher Hodapp

It's not often that we encounter a grand hailing sign in the real world, but I received this message privately about a Masonic Brother who is truly in distress. As the message explains, he is in desperate need of a kidney transplant. And unlike most appeals we come across in the wild these days, this one can't be solved by just clicking a Paypal donation button. This one requires true sacrifice on the part of a potential donor.

(Please note: I'm withholding this Brother's identity in public posts, at his request. But suffice it to say, I know who he is, and I fully understand his reasons for reticence at this particular moment.)

Twelve people die each day waiting for a kidney transplant.

One of our Brothers is one of the 37 million people in the U.S. impacted by kidney disease.

This Masonic brother is a young man who has dedicated his life to helping others. His weekends are full of activities like helping the homeless, fighting health care inequities, and caring for seniors. He is loved by his community and is on the path to create systematic changes in his community to help other people avoid healthcare disparities like the one he has suffered from. Despite this, his own health is beginning to deteriorate and a willing brother can be all the help he needs to save his life and keep him on his path.

To give background about this young Brother, at a young age, he was diagnosed with kidney failure. He spent years waiting for a recipient through the long and tedious organ transplant process with no avail. Through these years he experienced what many would call living a half-life since his body would only allow him to operate at half capacity. This process found him at the DaVita dialysis center every other day having needles stuck into him to painfully remove toxins from his body, a process that takes hours. Thankfully, his luck changed and he was able to briefly function without dialysis.

However, his fate yet again changed. He was recently informed that he has less than six months left with his kidney. He is desperately and urgently seeking a new kidney.

Now he is reaching out to his Freemason brothers to save his life in order to invest his efforts to save the lives of others who may be in this similar situation.

There are risks involved for a donor. But while becoming a living kidney donor may seem like a daunting endeavor, it is a safe procedure. For more information, please click here.

If you, or anyone you know, can help save his life please send an email to kidneyhelp2@gmail.com.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), more than 100,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for kidney transplants at the present time, and more living donors are desperately needed. While transplants involving relatives have long proven to be the most successful over time because of the blood relationship between donor and patient, that is not an option in this case. And in reality, because of improved medications and techniques, a genetic link between the donor and recipient is no longer required to ensure a successful transplant. However, donors must be healthy and match the recipient's blood type and antigens, so it requires extensive testing to determine compatibility. 

The long-term success rates of living transplants are usually much higher than those from deceased donors. In many cases, recipients of living donor kidney transplants can enjoy proper kidney function for an average of 12-20 years, and even longer, but there are no guarantees. There should be no illusions about transplants — a recipient's new kidney may properly function for the rest of their life, while another's can begin to fail again in a matter of months, in spite of exhaustive pre-testing for compatibility, new developments in anti-rejection drugs, and a letter-perfect transplant operation.

There are scores of questions that a potential donor will have answered if they are a match for this Brother, but the very first step is to be tested to find out if it is even a possibility before considering going further. Some very general questions can be answered on the UNOS websiteThere are possible risks to the donor, as in any surgical procedure. But complications or additional surgeries for the donor are statistically tiny. Initial screening, testing, and pre-operative preparation can be done at a hospital in your own hometown, but the actual transplant will require traveling to the recipient's hospital and several overnight stays before and after the operation. 

As Masons we are urged within the allegories of our ceremonies and obligations to know ourselves. We're not often asked to stretch to the farthest limits of our cabletows. Live kidney donation is not a decision to be taken lightly, because it does involve major surgery and a recovery period. But it's one of the greatest and most selfless gifts anyone can offer to make to another human being. Look in your heart, discuss it with your family, and consider giving this gift of life to our distressed Brother by contacting him directly at kidneyhelp2@gmail.com.

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