I would not be alive today if it weren't for my sister Joan here in Rochester, Minnesota donating one of her kidneys to me. Truly, the gift of life. Sure she only made the deal after I promised to help fold laundry 'til the kidney needed replacing, but still...she is my hero. (Click here to sign up to be a donor.)

Photo By Rabe
James Rabe and his living kidney donor, Joan Rabe. Photo By Rabe

It Is Not Easy for Everyone to Donate Life and Be A Hero

Actually, it's super easy. You just click here and sign up to be a donor (or say you want to be a donor when you get or renew your license). However, the process shouldn't be confused with the fear some people experience when asked to donate life.

Is it safe to donate a kidney? I always thought so. As safe as a surgery can be, you know? I felt that way because my sister was up and skiing within weeks of donating one of her kidneys (the smaller, more beat up ratty looking one) to me. But now, Mayo Clinic backs me up.

Donate Life Bowl painted by James Rabe
Donate Life Bowl painted by James Rabe

"The risk of major complications for people who donate a kidney via laparoscopic surgery is minimal. That is the conclusion of a 20-year Mayo Clinic study of more than 3,000 living kidney donors. Only 2.5% of patients in the study experienced major complications, and all recovered completely." (Source)

Mayo Clinic's Timucin Taner, M.D., Ph.D. the chair of the Division of Transplant Surgery in Minnesota, said possible donors can be reassured about their safety when considering a kidney donation.

Who Is That Beautiful Baby?

That's Gabrial. Gabrial is alive today because of a living donor. The whole story is here and will make you cry. A wonderful story of hope, faith, and skilled medical teams.

Is There A Reason You're Telling Me Kidney Donation Surgery Is Low Risk?

I'm telling you this because, according to the Mayo Clinic, almost 90,000 people are waiting for a kidney to save their lives. And a kidney from a living donor is ((chefs kiss)) the way to go. Or in medical speak,

"Patients who receive a kidney from a living donor generally have better outcomes. Living donor kidneys usually function longer than those from deceased donors."

What Sorts of Trouble Cropped Up for Kidney Donors

Rabe Photo
This was the legit whiteboard in my room, filled in by my family. Rabe Photo

12.4% of patients in the almost 20 years of data study, "had postsurgical complications, with most of them experiencing an infection or hernia related to the incision."

No patients died from complications, and most of the complications happened after the patient was discharged. Which tells Mayo Clinic it's a low-risk procedure, but follow-up care is vital.

The study's other authors — all of Mayo Clinic — are Xiomara Benavides, M.D.; Richard Rogers, M.D.; Ek Khoon Tan, M.B.B.S.; Massini Merzkani, M.D., Sc.D.; Sorkko Thirunavukkarasu, M.B.B.S.; Furkan Yigitbilek, M.D.; Byron Smith, Ph.D.; Andrew Rule, M.D.; Aleksandra Kuka, M.D.; George Chow, M.D.; Julie Heimbach, M.D.; Patrick Dean, M.D.; Mikel Prieto, M.D.; and Mark Stegall, M.D.

As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know: james.rabe@townsquaremedia.com


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