Need for living organ donors on the rise

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Organ donation is not a topic people enjoy thinking about. But the need is greater than ever, because more people are getting sick.

That is why the call has gone out for living donors.

We have been following the inspiring story of two Midstate soldiers: Sgt. Joseph Love donated a kidney to Sgt. Daniel Famous.

“Getting this kidney is going to allow me to continue on with how I want to live my life. The things I want to do with my life, how I interact with my family, the things that we're going to do,” said Famous.

Theirs is not the only living donation story. Dozens of Midstaters have donated a kidney while alive.

“Here at our center, about half the transplants we do every year are from living donors,” said Becca Brown, the nurse manager for transplants at PinnacleHealth.

That is about 40 living donors a year at PinnacleHealth—a selfless sacrifice that doctors say should happen more often.

The need for living donors is greater now than ever before. That is because the number of deceased donors is the same, but the demand for organs is increasing.

“As the population ages, as high blood pressure and diabetes become more of a problem, more and more people ultimately need dialysis and can be helped by getting off dialysis with a kidney transplant,” said Dr. Seth Narins, a transplant surgeon.

The current donor wait list is about five years, and 18 people die every day waiting for an organ.

“People who are able to get living donors are able to get transplanted much sooner so they are not as sick and they do much better long-term,” said Brown.

“That has certain advantages, not the least of which is living donor organs tend to work better and last longer,” said Narins.

Kidneys are not the only organs you can donate while alive you can also donate part of your liver. There have even been a few pancreas donations.

Anyone who donates an organ will not have to pay any medical bills because it is all covered by the recipient's insurance. Depending on your job you will be back to work in three to six weeks.

For more information on living donation, visit http://www.donors1.org/ or http://www.pinnaclehealth.org/transplant or http://pennstatehershey.org/web/transplants/home.

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