My Story: 25-Year-Old Son Donated Kidney To His Mother & Saved Her From Dialysis
In March, I was honored to travel to Capitol Hill to join the American Kidney Fund and patient-advocates from around the country to speak with legislators about some of the challenges that face the kidney community, including kidney transplantation. During my visit I met with the offices of Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Representative Steve Israel (D-NY) to discuss the need to ensure kidney transplant patients have access to immunosuppressive medications.
Kidney transplant patients must take immunosuppressive medications for the rest of their lives in order to keep their immune systems from attacking transplanted organs. Under current law, Medicare only covers these anti-rejection medications for three years following a transplant. After three years, transplant recipients must pay for these drugs out of pocket or through other means. During my meetings, I encouraged my members of Congress to support lifetime Medicare coverage of immunosuppressive medications.
Meeting with my members of Congress was a great experience, but it’s only one step toward improving the lives of kidney patients. Today there are more than 90,000 Americans on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. Organ donation is a huge way to positively impact somebody’s life who is struggling with kidney disease or another chronic condition. If you are interested in organ donation, I encourage you to learn more about the donation process and speak with your doctor. In my experience, donating a kidney to my mother gave her a second chance. I look forward to having my mother in my life for many more years.
April is National Donate Life Month and I encourage everyone to take some time this month to learn about organ donation. By spreading awareness of kidney disease and transplantation, the lives of many patients can be saved.
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Anthony Brown of Queens Village, N.Y., is a member of the American Kidney Fund’s Advocacy Network. Anthony travels around the country to speak with kidney patients and their family members about preventive health and kidney donation. In March, he was chosen to participate in the American Kidney Fund’s 5th Annual Kidney Action Day on Capitol Hill to speak with his members of Congress about kidney disease awareness and prevention.
*A version of this article was originally published on The American Kidney Fund Blog.