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Free Resource Celebrates Two Years of Inspiring Californians to be Living Kidney Donors

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107 candidates referred to California transplant centers

SAN DIEGO, Calif., May 19, 2015 – In its first two years, Living Donation California, the first-of-its kind information and referral website for living kidney donation, has referred more than 100 potential altruistic living kidney donors to California transplant centers.

Since its launch on May 14, 2013, thousands of people have visited seeking information about living kidney donation, why it’s needed, and how one person can save a life or many lives by donating one of their two kidneys. Hundreds more visitors then took the self-assessment to determine their eligibility to be living kidney donors, and 107 who met the minimal requirements were referred to one of 15 California transplant centers. The outcomes of those referrals are confidential, protected by federal and state medical privacy laws.

“It’s remarkable that in just two short years, more than 100 people, through the Living Donation California website, have determined they’re eligible to be potential living kidney donors and then have taken that next step – a referral to a transplant center to undergo further medical evaluation,” said Charlene Zettel, CEO of Donate Life California. “Due to privacy laws, we can’t say exactly how many lives have been saved through those referrals, but we know our service is saving lives, and our hope is that more people consider the option of living kidney donation.”

Currently, more than 101,000 people are waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant in the United States; nearly 19,000 are in California. Those put on the waiting list after 2004 can expect to wait up to ten years or more for a kidney transplant from a deceased donor. Each year, hundreds die waiting or become too sick to get a transplant. The Living Donation California resource is designed to help alleviate the critical shortage of kidney donors.

elauthor-eblast versionEldonna Edwards of Avila Beach met a young woman with kidney disease and offered to donate a kidney to her. While that woman declined her offer, Eldonna was determined to help someone. Her persistence led to her donating a kidney that set off a chain of transplants spanning the country.

“What started as a compassionate response to a single individual has blossomed into a far-reaching connection with a multitude of wonderful people I now call my friends,” said Eldonna. “I have been blessed with deeper meaning and greater purpose in life. People often thank me for what I did, but to my mind the gifts I received were much greater than the one I gave.” (Read Eldonna’s story here.)

In 2014 in California:

  • 2,039 people received kidney transplants:
    – 1,444 were from deceased donors.
    – 595 were from living donors.
  • 693 people died waiting for a kidney transplant.
  • 521 were removed from the waiting list because they got too sick to go through transplant surgery.

(Source: Organ Procurement and Transplant Network, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

History of Living Donation California

In 2009, during his battle with pancreatic cancer, Apple founder Steve Jobs received a liver transplant. But, during that process he grew frustrated over the shortage of organs in the United States. In cooperation with then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Donate Life California, The Altruistic Living Donor Registry Act of 2010 (SB 1395) was signed into law, authorizing the state’s organ procurement organizations (OPOs) to establish a service designed to “promote and assist live kidney donations.” Living Donation California is that service.

About Living Donation California

Living Donation California is a free information and referral service that encourages California residents to be altruistic kidney donors, provides accurate information about living donation, and refers potentially eligible individuals for evaluation at a transplant center.

160x160Living Donation California is administered by Donate Life California, which manages the state-authorized organ and tissue deceased donor registry. Donate Life California’s Board of Directors is composed of eight representatives of the state’s four non-profit, federally designated organ procurement organizations (OPOs): Donor Network West, Lifesharing, OneLegacy, and Sierra Donor Services. In addition, Living Donation California is supported by a Board of Advisors which includes participating California kidney transplant programs.

Contact: Brianne Mundy Page
(o) 619-563-5137 (m) 858-220-8351

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