Tylor Smoot is a 12-year-old boy from the Warrenville, Ill., area who is at end stage renal failure. Tylor will need a kidney soon, and his family is looking for a living donor. Tylor has blood type A-, and has been battling chronic renal failure after his two cardiac arrests in 1992 at 3 months of age. He lost his left kidney in 2000 and has a neurogenic bladder.
What is a neurogenic bladder?
The muscles and nerves of the urinary system work together to hold urine in the bladder and then release it at the appropriate time. Nerves carry messages from the bladder to the brain and from the brain to the muscles of the bladder, telling them either to tighten or release. In a neurogenic bladder, the nerves that are supposed to carry these messages do not work properly.
In recent years, the science of organ transplantation has made great strides. Unfortunately, the process of securing and allocating organs has not matched this progress. There is still a critical shortage of organs.
The number of people waiting to receive an organ transplant in the United States is rising. There are now more than 82,000 people on the national organ transplant waiting list. Each day, 63 people receive an organ transplant, but another 16 people on the waiting list die because organs arent available.
As of August 2003, in the United States, there are more than 55,000 people waiting for a kidney transplant; 17,000 people waiting for a liver transplant; 3,000 people waiting for a heart and lung transplant.
Experts suggest that each of us could save or help as many as 50 people by being an organ donor. Who can be an organ donor?
If you are 18 years or older, you can show you want to be an organ donor by signing a donor card or telling your family members. If you are under age 18, you must have a parents or guardians consent. There are no age limits on who can donate.
What organs and tissues can be donated?
Kidney, heart, liver, lung, pancreas, intestine, cornea, skin, bone, bone marrow.
How do you become a donor candidate?
State your intent to be an organ donor on your drivers license. Fill out a donor card and carry it in your wallet. You can download and print an organ donor card at www.organdonor.gov/newdonorcard/pdf. Tell your family and loved ones that you want to be a donor after you die. You may also want to tell your family health care provider, lawyer and your religious leader that you would like to be a donor.
Does the donors family have to pay for the cost of organ donation? No. The donors family neither pays for, nor receives payment for, organ and tissue donation. The transplant recipients health insurance policy (or Medicare or Medicaid) usually covers the cost of transplant.
To help raise awareness of the need for more organ donors or to help the Smoot family, write to: Tylor Smoot Transplant Fund, c/o Community Baptist Church, P.O. Box 390, Warrenville, IL 60555-0390.
From the june 22-28, 2005, issue