Dear Friends and Family,
I need a kidney and I need your help.
First let me say, after this unprecedented year, I hope you and your families are all feeling a bit of relief, but know that many are still suffering loss of their own. I consider myself super lucky after being diagnosed 5 years ago with kidney failure, yet I have been able to manage through the years, working and appreciating life. Ironically, now that the pandemic is settling down, my levels have reached a new scary low. Hopefully, this urgent plea won’t offend you because having your sympathy and understanding regarding my situation is all that stands between me and a lifetime of dialysis. I discovered through this multi-year process that none of my immediate family members, including my daughter, husband, siblings and first cousins are a match. At this time, my brother is attempting to be a SWAP match for me, but nothing is a sure thing, so I am still looking for a donor who may match me directly.
It’s hard to write this, but in truth, my situation is dire.
Many of you are familiar with my story. Due to medication I began taking over 40 years ago to alleviate the symptoms of lupus, my kidney function is grossly diminished. My kidneys are damaged. I have been on the national kidney donor list since 2019 for a deceased person’s kidney, but knowing the wait is arduously long (seven years) and that there are many researched based reasons why a living donor kidney is more beneficial, I have worked tirelessly to build a network of caring individuals to help us locate the right live donor for the transplant I must have. While these efforts are fierce and deeply appreciated we need more help. We need you, NOW. In August, I will begin dialysis. Please join my search team.
Take action. Spread the news. Today, immediately, forward this email to anyone you know who has a network of family and friends who will share my story within their circles. If you have access to congregational bulletins, newsletters or the Jewish press-or know someone who does-please forward this email with a personal note expressing my immediate need and your desire to help. Studies show that personalized email networking garners great results. I also have a Facebook page called Melanie Nirken Kaplan’s Donor Search that has lots of information and can be referenced.
Knowing that when I send this email many of you will read it and wonder if you could become a potential donor for me, is huge. Discovering whether or not you can be a donor begins with a blood test. Only O blood types (O+ or O-) can be vetted to become possible donors for me. Once your type is determined, please register at www.HoustonMethodistLivingDonor.org.
The matching process can take some time and as stated above the need to transplant me is immediate. If you choose to register as a live donor or know someone who is willing to be my donor, please let me know so I can get the timeline details for both of us.
The donor procedure is uncomplicated and usually laparoscopic with a two day expected hospital stay. Houston Methodist seems to have the best processes and efficient route to transplant for me. They are world renowned in transplantation. Also, my insurance pays for all donor medical, transportation and lodging costs if it is necessary for you to travel to get to Houston for the surgery.
If you are in Boston, I have a hospital there that I am working with as well. Please contact me directly if you or someone you know in the Boston area would like to be vetted as a donor for me.
I know I have written to you as part of my network before, if you can be my donor that would be great, but if not please share this message out with your network. I am hoping to get as many live donors tested to match me as possible. Dialysis is coming soon. It is a treatment, but not a long term option.
Thank you for your love and support during this critical time in my life.
Melanie Nirken Kaplan