If you happened to read the post just before this one you saw that I am currently on a trip, pretty much around the world.
I am fortunate to be able to take this trip for a few reasons the first one being that I have a perfectly good kidney. Not very long ago I had a dying kidney and required dialysis every few days. This made it difficult for me to travel even within the same state I live in.
With my blood type it was going to be a 3 to 7 year average wait for a kidney had I not found out about a kidney donor/recipient exchange program in the United States that paired my brother who was not a close enough match for me.. with another recipient who was a close enough match to him, whose donor didnt match them but matched me perfectly. In other words my brother donated one of his kidneys to someone else and because of that I got a kidney and can live a normal life again.
I am one of the lucky ones. A few days before I left on this trip I had a long conversation with my Nephrologist (kidney Dr) who told me that of the 450 or so renal patient load he carries about about 70 of them die each year after an average of 6 to 10 years on dialysis.. from the many complications that inherently come from this life sustaining treatment method.
Since my transplant and the successfull recovery of all four patients involved my Doctor has become an advocate of the idea of a worldwide database that could potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives if only we were all matched with our information in databases that could be accessed by medical professionals all over the world.
Once a set of matches is made (which could literally happen in a matter of hours or even minuets).. Arrangements are made and all four or even six people are brought to a hospital for the transplant exchanges all on the same day.
As I write this my Doctor is putting me in touch, connecting my brother and I with people in cities that we plan to visit on this trip to talk about our experience.. to try create dialog among hospitals, politicians, or anyone who will listen to push for a change that will allow for better global co-operation that hopefully one day people all over the world with kidney failure wont have to go thru dialysis and eventually an early death because of it.
I am journaling everything that happens on this trip.. the good and the bad.. I plan to take lots of photos.. of the good and the bad. I plan to (probably self publish) my story. I dont plan to share this story here on a daily basis but when I do publish it I will share the pictures and stories with anyone who wants to see them. I will only ask in exchange for a copy you donate to an organization called “Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes ~ KDIGO”
Another reason I am able to go on this trip is that my brother and a friend have started up a private air charter service and instead of ferrying or shipping the 1st of a few aircraft they purchased from a Swiss manufacturer directly to the U.S, They were able to take delivery in Europe where the range of the aircraft will allow us to access many parts of the world before we return to the USA.
My brother will be writing a company training manual for this aircraft as we travel while also showing his children who he is home schooling different parts of the world.
When he asked me to come along I thought long and hard about it.. I said yes, but with a few conditions.. I needed to take advantage of an opportunity to do some good in the world. He and his partner agreed to help me.. even to the extent of allowing some of their aircraft to be used for (any kind of transplant flights) during non booked periods. 🙂
Yes I know, I am just as important as a grain of sand on a beach, But I also know that just one person can make a difference, and even if I fail, at least I will know that I tried.
Here is a story about one such person, “Shay Kelly” of Project 50/50 who has been an inspiration to me more than she will ever know.