ISHPEMING — There are more than 122,000 patients who are wait-listed for life-saving organ transplants in the U.S. today. Since the demand is far more than the supply, some are turning to more creative ways of finding donors.
Officials say that everyday 18 people will die while waiting for an organ transplant. So instead of sitting on the sidelines, people like Lori Coulter are reaching out to find a donor for themselves. She says after she was wait-listed for a kidney transplant, she wrote a plea for help on her car and took to the streets.
“I don’t want to wait for a kidney. I’m a type O, type O’s are everywhere,” Coulter added, “and they’re much harder to come by. So I don’t want to wait, so I just took it into my own hands.”
Is that far-fetched?
Not to Jason Rubinstein who had a similar idea, and reached out to friends on social media to find his donor.
Rubinstein says, “Social media is real-time engagement with people, and so if I post something on Facebook, somebody’s going to see it within, you know, less than a minute. My wife and I posted on Facebook, that I was, you know, having end-stage renal disease, and that I needed a transplant,”
He says in less than a week a former classmate of his wife responded. Turns out the man was a perfect match and gave Rubinstein the gift of life.
Dr. Todd Pesavento is director of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Comprehensive Transplant Center. He says nationwide organ donor transplants haven’t grown in 10 years – and living donors have dropped nearly 16 percent.
Now here’s the good news: he says that donors don’t have to be family members anymore, that thanks to medical advances even strangers could donate.
Dr. Pesavento says, “I always ask our donors, you know, ‘What make you want to donate?’ and they said, ‘I saw something on TV… I read something… there was a story about someone who needed a kidney and I didn’t know that I could help until now.'”
Many people sign up for organ donating for after they die, but many aren’t aware that you can be a living donor. Signing up is easy, you could even do it online.
For more information click here.