Don’t let those articles and posts about Lamar Odom deter you from wanting to be an organ donor.

I am not typically one who follows the tabloids but this post that has been shared over 25,000 times has caught my attention regarding organ donation. It is written by the sister of a woman who is in need of a life saving kidney transplant; and it is full of misconception.

Don’t jump on that bandwagon just yet.

Source: Facebook

We can agree on one thing, I don’t know what Lamar Odom has been through in his life and I don’t know what drug addiction is like.

Trust me, I get it.  You are upset and enraged and so are many of the thousands of other family members and people diagnosed with a disease requiring an organ transplant as a treatment.

That’s right, kidney transplantation is not a cure, it is a treatment.

I can ensure you that just because Mr. Odom has assets beyond the typical candidate for organ transplantation, he will not be moving up the list due to his financial status or fame.  The list doesn’t work like that.

The list doesn’t care what your net worth is or who you know.

The list is managed by UNOS, the United Network for Organ Sharing who ensure that the gifts of organs go to those who are best matched.

Best matched doesn’t mean because you are famous.

Best matched means blood type, tissue type, medical urgency, time on the waiting list and origin.

You also have to meet strict requirements to even be a candidate for an organ transplant.

If Mr. Odom does indeed end up needing a life saving kidney transplant, there is no guarantee that he will be an eligible candidate.  He will have to endure the same testing as everyone else does to see if they are eligible and one of the many criteria is that you cannot have risky lifestyle practices.  You have to prove that you are worthy of receiving an organ transplant and that you will take care of it.

If he is approved, he will have to either wait on the list just like any other patient, or secure a living donor.The odds of him securing a living donor are considerably higher for him due to the amount of media exposure and fan base he has.

Before anyone starts thinking that I have no room to talk or that I would change my mind if I were in another position, I can relate because my 5 year old son was also born with kidney disease.  He has endured so many surgeries, procedures, lab draws and imaging that I have honestly lost count.  He always has a smile on his face and always lives life to the fullest.  He has also had to suffer through so much through no fault of his own.

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One day he will be on that list and I have no worries that the list will be ran the way it is intended to and that a person with will not jump above him on that list due to their financial status or fame.

All in all, even just the talk about Mr. Odom’s possible need for a kidney transplant has brought much needed awareness for organ donation.  He has already received many offers from people who would be willing to donate to him.

The only thing I am hoping is that he takes this experience, learns from it and betters himself.

I also hope that one of the things he learns from this life changing ordeal is that he has a voice he can use to advocate for organ donation.

Because every day there are 4,100 transplant candidates added to that list and 18 die each day while waiting.

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 I am so glad that this woman’s sister is finally receiving multiple offers for a kidney donor.  But at the same time it makes me sad that it had to get this far just for people to step up to donate.

While I believe her intentions were good, by posting erroneous information, this could actually backfire and deter people from wanting to donate by thinking that kidneys are just given to those who are not going to take care of them.

Click here to register to become an organ donor

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My son hated having his catheter put in at night so I did this . . .

My son uses a catheter to drain his bladder and we have to secure a catheter through his belly button (mitrofanoff) every night to keep the pressure off of his swollen kidneys.

Let me tell you, it’s like life in the battle field.

It will typically start with me getting the kids ready for bed, making sure everything is set for the next morning.  Then I will get Oakley into the shower, teeth brushed, jammies put on.

After that, it turns into a game of hide and seek.  “Where’s Oakley?”  I can hear giggles but I know he is hiding because he hates ‘getting hooked up’ as he calls it.

Hide and seek is usually followed by a marathon ran around the kitchen table…and he is fast!  He will shoot up the stairs and into my room.

He is now five, so his bargaining skills are quite good.  “Can’t we just wait a while?”  “Let’s just cuddle first.”  “Want to play a game?”  Common phrases of him trying to redirect.

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Now, this isn’t necessarily painful for him, just an inconvenience.  Who wants to carry around a bag of pee?  More so, get tangled in it?

Not this kid!

So what better thing can you do than break out the Sharpies?

Make it fun, right?

My first rendition wasn’t so pretty.  Really, don’t laugh, I tried!

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Sorry about that Olaf!

But, as time went on, I became a little better and learned some easier ways to design the Tegaderm films.

I design several at a time so that way he has a variety to choose from each night.

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There is no hiding and running around the table each night.  There are no more tears!

I’ve learned that you can turn something that wasn’t so pleasurable into something not only tolerable, but fun at the same time.

It definitely helps him cope.

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Team Oakley Christmas Drive

Oakley has many friends who are also fighting pediatric kidney disease.

Oakley wants to make sure each of these children and their siblings receive something they are asking for from Santa.

When you have a chronically ill child, finances are tight and most times you are just scraping by.

When you add on the holiday’s, things seem impossible at times and you feel defeated. Adding a Christmas gift into the budget is impossible.

Will you help us?

I know Christmas is several weeks away, but the earlier we start planning, the better this turns out. Last year we had two children who were ‘adopted’ but did not receive anything. So, please only commit if you plan on following through.

If you cannot help, will you hit that share button for Oakley? He wants to make sure “Santa” sees this to make sure his friends wake up to a gift on Christmas morning.

Please send me an e-mail at sarahsavickas@yahoo.com

If you are a business, school, youth group, girl/boy scout troop and are willing to collect toys or donations for toys, that would be amazing and such a wonderful way to give back.

These kids deserve to have that one thing that they’ve wanted all year long.

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Be kind, for everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about

You know the saying, “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about?”

Really think about that saying.

Think about it before you judge the next person parked in a handicapped spot who gets out of their vehicle and walks to the entrance. 

Think about it when you question yourself about the the kid on your child’s football team who is standing on the sidelines every game, because he wants to play so bad, but it isn’t safe for him to play because he has a bad heart. It isn’t because “he must suck” or “must have gotten bad grades”. For him standing on the sidelines is the closest he will ever get to playing the game.

Think about it the next time you see a child at Disneyworld skipping the lines while you have been waiting a long time in harsh heat. How dare them, right?  Well they are on their Make A Wish trip because they just fought cancer – and won.

Think about it the next time you see a very overweight child in the grocery store riding in a stroller. While you are mumbling “so unhealthy, disgusting, lazy” to the person in line with you, that child had an organ transplant and is on steroids to keep them healthy.

Think about it the next time your co-worker is late.  She might look fine, but she just had to rush back home and change her clothes because her colostomy bag just leaked.

Think about it the next time you are at a restaurant with your friends and that one friend…you know, the one who comes to socialize but never eats?  Oh, and she is so thin!  She must be starving herself, right?  Wrong.  She has a feeding tube because she aspirates her food into her lungs.

Wondering why your child can’t bring a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to school?  Because the little girl in Mrs. Johnson’s class went in to anaphylactic shock and almost lost her life last month because a parent decided that their child should be the exception and be allowed to bring what they want for lunch no matter the consequences another child may face.

Not every illness has outward signs of what each person goes through each day. The pain, suffering, heartache.

Think before you speak, please.  Stop with the, “they look fine to me” statements and gossip.

Be kind, don’t judge.

September 28 – October 4th marks Invisible Illness Awareness Week.

What’s YOUR #invisibleillness?

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