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.
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.
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.
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.