Thursday, March 11, 2010

Kidney Day

Today, the National Kidney Foundation is sponsoring a special "Kidney Day" from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the State Capitol. There will be free kidney screenings. According to Glen Hayashida, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii, most diagnoses are made when the disease is at an advanced stage. Early detection increases your opportunities for prevention.

Pat and C.J. in the House Chamber. Photo: Honolulu Star-Bulletin

In today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin, House Chief Clerk Patricia Mau-Shimizu and Assistant Chief Clerk C.J. Leong are featured in a story documenting their experience with kidney donation. You can read the full story here. They agreed to go public with their story with the hope that it will convince others to consider a donation.
Here are Pat's remarks in a speech she gave for Kidney Day:
"What a difference a year makes! Last year at the kidney donor rally, I was standing behind that pole, diagnosed with stage 4 chronic kidney disease approaching stage 5, wondering what the future held for me.

This year I'm standing here with a new life.

Last year on September 24th I received a new healthy kidney from my colleague, whose office has been right next to mine for 20 years downstairs. We're not related. We were colleagues and friends. And now as the morning Star-Bulletin said, we are linked for life.

I am one of the fortunate ones. I had people who offered to donate a kidney to me. And one of those people was a match. Physically, I feel like a "normal" person again with a normal energy level. I don't have to sleep for 14 hours on weekends, and wake up still tired and unable to do my household chores. Bloating from abnormal water retention is gone.

Just as important, I have new hope for the future—if I keep the diabetes under control and continue on a healthy lifestyle, I can hope for a normal life expectancy. I can now plan to see my daughter graduate from law school next year, and hopefully be there for her as she embarks on her adult life adventures.

I am told that there are hundreds of people on Hawaii's kidney transplant waitlist—maybe someone you know, a family member, a friend, a neighbor. As an island-state, we do not have the luxury of travelling across state lines for transplant surgery. The small window of time available for transplantation once a kidney is harvested is very narrow—I believe 5-7 hours.
We must rely on people in Hawaii--on each other for help.

You can help in 2 ways:

If you know someone who has chronic kidney disease, consider becoming a LIVE donor.

If you want to help others, consider becoming a CADAVER donor, by having an organ donor designation placed on your driver's license—and notify your family of your decision, to ensure that your wishes are honored.

After surgery, someone asked me how I felt towards my donor. The word appreciative came to mind, but it's more than appreciative. The word thankful came to mind, but it's more than thankful. And the word grateful came to mind, but it's more than grateful.

I can't find a word that adequately describes my feelings."

No comments: