Bob Beliak

Bob Beliak, far right, at a recent event with his family.

Finding a kidney for a transplant is not easy. I know because I am one of 100,000-plus people on the waiting list for a deceased donor kidney. 

I’ve lived in the Valley since 1953; I am a husband, father and grandfather. I am on the transplant list since I am “living” with stage 5 kidney disease and have 9% kidney function! No, that’s not a typo. Nine percent! Kidney disease causes anemia and extreme fatigue, and it has prevented me from working since July 2018. My wish? To be healthy again! To enjoy time with my grandchildren, and to be around to watch them grow up. To spend quality time with family and friends. To return to a time when I wasn’t tired and sick. To have quality of life again.

But time isn’t on my side. The average wait time is five-plus years for a deceased donor kidney.

However, there’s another option: receiving a kidney from a living donor greatly improving my chances of getting a transplant. Also, a living kidney donation typically lasts longer and functions better. A kidney from a living donor can give me back my life.

What can you do? Help me spread the word.

You might not know a lot about living donations — I didn’t before kidney disease negatively impacted my life. Understandably, some people are afraid of surgery and what living with one kidney will mean for them. Here’s some basic information about kidney donation:

·        You only need one kidney to live a healthy, long life.

·        Most donor surgery is done laparoscopically, meaning through tiny incisions.

·        The recuperation period is usually fairly quick, generally two weeks.

·        The cost of your evaluation and surgery will be covered by my insurance.

·        You will have a separate team of healthcare professionals evaluating you as a living donor, helping you understand the risks and benefits of organ donation and looking out for your best interests. JN

For more information on becoming a live donor, contact Mayo Hospital at 480-342-1010 or at mayoclinic.org/livingdonor

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