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Living Kidney Donors And Their Champions Help Save Lives

November 16, 2017

The waiting list for a deceased donor kidney transplant continues to grow every year, leaving many patients on dialysis for lengthy periods, waiting for a kidney. But through Hartford Hospital’s Living Donor Champion program, patients waiting for a kidney are finding a match faster. Dr. Caroline Rochon is the director of the kidney transplant program at Hartford Hospital.

Q: Tell us about the Living Donor Champion program at Hartford Hospital.

A: It’s a program that we’ve designed to empower our patients and their family on the kidney transplant wait list to find a living kidney donor easier. It’s designed to take place in three sessions, in two hours each, where the patient is taught to become an expert. Patients are also taught to use social media and the media to share their story and reach more ears. It also helps them to establish a network for support through this journey.

Q: Who is the “champion” that is referred to in the title of this program?

A: The champion can be any person – including the donor – who helps share their loved one’s story and the disease they’re facing so that more and more people can hear about what their loved one needs. People can’t give you what they don’t know you need. With a champion, we can share the story and hopefully find a donor easier.

Q: What are the barriers of identifying potential living donors? 

The biggest barrier patients find is their own fear of sharing their story, or sharing the fact that they suffer from a chronic illness and are vulnerable in a way. Other barriers are the myths out there about the exaggerated risk of living donor kidney donation.

Learn more about becoming a Living Donor Champion by calling 860.972.9918, or visit their website here.