by George Taniwaki

Today is a double kidney day for me. First, it is a kidney day for everyone; it is World Kidney Day. This day is a part of a global health awareness campaign organized by the International Federation of Kidney Foundations and the International Society of Nephrologists. The society is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2010. The theme of this year’s World Kidney Day is “Protect your kidneys: control diabetes.”


Kidney disease is often treatable if the condition is detected early. This means more people with diabetes, hypertension, or a family history of kidney disease need to be educated about the disease and get tested. A poignant yet understated video emphasizing the importance of testing is available on YouTube.


Second, it is a personal kidney day for me. I just received a letter from the University of Washington Medical Center. The transplant committee has accepted me as a living donor. That means all four interviewers (social worker; nephrologist; surgeon Oct 12 and Mar 5; and psychiatrist) approve of my participation and that all medical test results (x-ray, ECG, CCR, PPD, and blood panel; CT scan; and split renogram) were within the acceptable ranges.

Now it’s just a matter of finding a recipient match and scheduling the surgery date. My first choice is to be matched with a patient on the National Kidney Registry to start a chain. But that may be unlikely since I have AB+ blood type (see Sept 2008). I’ve been on the NKR waiting list for over two years now without a match. So if I don’t find a match from the NKR list, then I will donate to the next compatible patient at UWMC based on the UNOS waiting list.


My acceptance letter arrives on World Kidney Day. Image from UWMC

For more information on becoming a kidney donor, see my Kidney donor guide.

[Update: Clarified that the patient I will donate to at UWMC is on the UNOS waiting list. The UWMC and UNOS do not maintain separate waiting lists.]