January 2013

Below are two maps I created to indicate the locations of events described in my father’s memoir reproduced in three earlier blog posts. These are live maps, so you can click on the map to see the actual data on Bing Maps.

The first map is of Southern Japan. It shows the cities (numbers 1 through 5) that my father traveled through by train and ferry from his farm in Susaki-shi, Kochi-ken on the island of Shikoku to get to Hiroshima-shi on the main island of Honshu. It also shows the two cities (6 and 7) mentioned later in the memoir. The short link to this map is http://binged.it/13db12G.


Map of southern Japan showing the cities mentioned in my father’s memoirs. Courtesy of Bing Maps

The second map is of the city of Hiroshima. It shows the location of the army camp (1), the bomb shelters (2), ground zero (3), Niho Elementary School (4), Hiroshima train station (5), East training ground (6), sentry post west of city (7), temporary crematory (8), and the army headquarters (9). The short link to this map is http://binged.it/WrMi3q.


Map of Hiroshima-shi showing the landmarks mentioned in my father’s memoirs. Courtesy of Bing Maps

The bomb shelter where my father was working when the atomic bomb detonated no longer exists. It was closed off and covered over. There is now a service road in the park that passes near the point. Using Bing Maps you can create a bird’s eye view looking west that shows the topography of Hiji-yama-koen (Hiji hill park).


Bird’s eye view looking west shows the topography near the army camp (1), bomb shelters (2), and a temporary crematory (8). Courtesy of of Bing Maps

I have updated the original blog posts to include links to the maps. Links to the memoir are: Part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Much thanks to Greg Huber and other readers for feedback on how they used online maps and the relative location of ground zero to various locations mentioned in the memoir to help them understand the extent of damage caused by the bomb.


A professionally produced video seeking a kidney donor for Sandra Driscoll. It includes a narrator, interviews shot at multiple locations, and polished editing. Video still from Sandra Driscoll on YouTube

by George Taniwaki

If you are a kidney patient or a kidney “matchmaker” (a friend or family member who contacts acquaintances on behalf of the patient) searching for a living donor, then hopefully you have already started on a Kidney Kampaign that includes letter writing, social media, and perhaps even a Craigslist ad. If you have already used these techniques in your search, then you may be ready to try something more complex. Today’s blog post covers the ins-and-outs of producing a video to publicize your search.

Producing a video isn’t for everyone. Creating and distributing a polished video requires you to have the skill (or more likely, access to one or more people who have the skills and are willing to volunteer the time) to script, narrate, film, appear in, edit, and post it. However, a video doesn’t need to be polished to be good as I’ll show later.

Adding a video with information about yourself and explaining how to become a living donor is an excellent way to reach your target audience of potential donors. I have reviewed several kidney patient videos posted on YouTube and have come up with a list of items that an effective videos should include:

    1. Introduction of patient and why the viewer should watch this video
    2. Short medical history explaining why patient needs a kidney
    3. Testimonials from friends or family members. Make sure the interviewer/narrator or the interviewees themselves make clear that these people are unable to donate. (This isn’t needed for children, most people will realize that a child cannot give consent to be a donor)
    4. Basic information about the donation process. Address common safety and cost concerns. Do not provide medical advice or donor acceptance criteria. Let the hospital do that
    5. Request for potential donors to get a blood test. (Mention that type O are especially desired, if patient is type O. But do not exclude anybody, again let the hospital do that.) Include contact info for the living donor transplant coordinator or the living donor advocate (usually a social worker) at the hospital where the transplant will take place

A good video can be short. Nearly all of the videos I saw on YouTube were less than 5 minutes long. Incidentally, the best way to promote your video is on YouTube. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Create a Google account. If you have problems look under the Signing Up section of YouTube help
  2. Upload the video.  Get a final edit of the video on a computer with a high-speed Internet connection. Log into YouTube and from the Video Manager page, select the file to upload. Go to YouTube help for  encoding tips and a list of supported file formats. You will need to verify your account to upload HD videos longer than 15 minutes
  3. Apply metadata. This includes a title, description, category (probably “People & blogs”), search tags (like “need, search, find, kidney, transplant, donor, <your name>”), select a license (I recommend Creative Commons so that other patients will be able to copy it for use in their search), and select a privacy level (probably Public so that anyone can search and view the video)
  4. Get viewers. Copy the URL of the video and publicize it to all your family, friends, and social media contacts

A video produced by Sandra Driscoll (screenshot at top of this post), is an excellent example. Sandra is a former city attorney for Seattle and a patient at Northwest Kidney Centers and at the University of Washington Medical Center. Her friends Peter Clarke and Connie McDougall acted as videographer/post-production editor and reporter/producer respectively. Two items that really caught my attention in this video were a photograph showing Sandra’s large extended family in which nobody was able to donate and the testimony from a young nephew about how Sandra’s life changed after she started dialysis.

Some of the scenes in the video above were shot at an NKC facility. Sandra was careful to get permission before shooting on private property. You should too.

A good video does not require a slick professional appearance to be enjoyable, persuasive, and effective. For instance, three of Sandra’s nieces who are too young to donate themselves put together a heartfelt request for donors to help an aunt they deeply care about. Even though you can see that they are reading from cue cards, the viewer can see their sentiment is honest and it doesn’t detract from the message. (I think an audience may be less willing to accept adults reading from cue cards though.)


A self-produced video of three nieces seeking a kidney donor for their aunt, Sandra Driscoll.  Video still from YouTube


You may notice that I am the donor being interviewed in Sandra’s video. (I think it’s a good video despite my awkward performance.) Although I have several years of experience in advertising and marketing, I personally had never been filmed on camera before. A few things I learned:

  1. Always look at the interviewer. Do not look at the camera which will break the “fourth wall” and look unnatural
  2. Do not look up or dart your eyes, which many people, including me, do while thinking. This makes you appear evasive or dishonest
  3. When talking, avoid pauses that contain filler words such as “um” and “uh.” If necessary, rehearse your responses to avoid this
  4. You may be required to repeat your responses as the camera is moved from one position to another to get different angles. Again, it may help to rehearse your responses to keep them consistent from take to take
  5. Not withstanding all the effort needed to avoid the problems stated above, don’t be nervous. Relax and say what comes naturally. Stress in your voice will be apparent to the listener


The best donor search video I found on YouTube was “Are You My Type?” It is a bit long at 14 minutes. The video was produced by Karol Franks on behalf of her daughter, Jenna. Karol is an administrator for the Living Donors Online website. This resource for patients, donors, and potential donors was mentioned in a Dec 2009 blog post. Incidentally, Jenna’s donor search page on Facebook was featured in a previous post on using social media to find a donor.


Video still from “Are You My Type?” Courtesy of  Karol Franks

Another nice video is one by David Goldman that features lyrics he wrote to match a tune composed by a friend.


Video still from “David Needs a Kidney” Courtesy of David Goldman

For more ideas on finding a donor, see my Kidney patient guide.

[Update: Added screenshots of the last two videos mentioned in this blog post.]


Screenshot of Facebook community page entitled Wanted: Kidney Donor

by George Taniwaki

In addition to direct contact with friends and acquaintances through letters and email, you should also consider using the web to reach a larger circle of friends-of-friends. This method of less personal communications is called social media. The three most popular social media services are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. A description of each service and how it can be used in your search is described below. To start, I recommend you sign up for a Facebook page for your kidney donor search once you have completed your initial direct contacts.

If you are already an experienced social media user, you may want to consider expanding your search by setting up a blog or even a custom personal website. These options are also discussed below.


Facebook is a social network that helps friends and families stay connected. Since there is often little overlap in the network for individuals, a circle of friends-of-friends can often be very large. This can help you find a donor who you don’t know directly but who nonetheless has a connection to you.

If you don’t already have a personal Facebook page, you can quickly and easily set one up at https://www.facebook.com. All you need is an email address and a password. Remember to create a secure password and not to use the same password that you use for your email account.

Once you have a personal account, you can create a page specifically for your kidney donor search. Go to the Create a Page site and click on Cause or Community. Give your cause a name like “Kidney Kampaign for John Smith”, agree to the terms, and click Get Started. You should select a name that can last because you cannot change it after the page receives 200 “Likes” from visitors.

Once you have created your page, you will want to take the following steps.

  1. Add admins. These are other people, like your “matchmaker,” who will also have the ability to make changes to the page. There are several types of admins, so take care in choosing who can do what. For more see Managing Admins in the Facebook Help Center
  2. Customize the page. Add a cover photo, profile photo, and complete the summary information. For more, see Customizing How your Page Looks in the Facebook Help Center
  3. Get an audience. Send an invitation to everyone you know, both on Facebook and elsewhere to “Like” your page. Once they do this, posts of your page will appear on their timeline feed. For more, see Reach More People in the Facebook Help Center
  4. Keep them coming back. To keep people interested in your search, and to keep your posts from falling to the bottom of your audience’s timeline, you need to provide regular posts that receive “Likes.” A rule of thumb is to have a post at least twice a month, but probably not more than twice a week (unless it is timely news). For more, see Best Practices of Page Admins in the Facebook Help Center.

Incidentally, you should “Like” the Living Kidney Donors Network Facebook page so that you can participate in the discussion and support provided by other kidney patients and donors.


LinkedIn is a social network that targets working professionals and employers. You can create a “Group” in LinkedIn that is similar to a “Page” on Facebook. However, I do not recommend this. First, my guess is that very few professionals will want to join a group dedicated to finding you a kidney donor. Second, maintaining two pages (one on Facebook and another on LinkedIn) will be a burden on you. Instead, I recommend posting occasional reminders on your LinkedIn profile for people to join your Facebook page.

Note that I could not find any groups on LinkedIn dedicated to finding a donor for a kidney patient.


Twitter is a broadcast service that allows a member to create a short message called a tweet that is sent to a self-selected group called followers. The followers can see all Tweets sent to them by viewing the feed page.

I recommend using Twitter to announce updates to your blog or website. However, I don’t think Twitter is the correct media to send the actual content of a blog entry or changes to a website since they would probably be too long. Twitter can be used to announce updates to your Facebook page or the entire content of a Facebook post if it is short.

I have a Twitter account that I use to broadcast updates to my blog. I follow several people and publications, but must admit I do not check my Twitter feed regularly. For instance, the screenshot taken below is the first time I have logged into Twitter in several months.


Screenshot of my Twitter feed


Facebook is a great way to post current information. However, it only allows posts to be organized by date and it is difficult to search for content. If you want to create a repository of information and don’t mind being limited in format or style, then I recommend using one of several free blogging services. The blog you are now reading is hosted by WordPress, though I also like TypePad and blogger.


Screenshot of home page of blog entitled Kidney transplant for kylies mom

Custom website

If you are comfortable managing content on your own and want complete control over the user experience including text, pictures, video, and interactive elements (also called widgets), then you may want to create a custom website (using a web host such as GoDaddy, Intuit, Yola, or many others).

The cost of registering a domain name is about $10 per year and hosting a website is about $5 to $10 per month. The hosting companies provide website templates, but you can also customize your site as you see fit if you know web programming, or know someone who does.

For an example of a custom website, visit www.HarveysKidneyKampaign.com. This is the site developed by Harvey Mysel, the founder of the Living Kidney Donors Network. This site does not have any fancy interaction but is nicely done. Harvey gives permission to any kidney patient who wants to copy content from this site.


Screenshot of home page of a custom website at HarveysKidneyKampaign.com

Final notes

Much thanks to Karol and Jenna Franks and to Harvey Mysel for permission to feature their kidney kampaigns in this blog post.

For more ideas on finding a donor, see my Kidney patient guide.

[Update1: Added a link to article on the LKDS website.

Update2: Added a link to Find A Kidney Facebook page and appropriate credit.]