save mitchell

donate a kidney, a dollar, or a prayer for hope & healing

Fundraiser for Mitchell

An awesome company, Bonfire Funds, has partnered with SaveMitchell.com to launch a fundraiser.

It’s super simple.

People purchase a t-shirt for $25; $15 goes directly to the SaveMitchell.com fund which helps offset his medical expenses. But here’s the catch…we must sell 50 shirts within 50 days. If we don’t reach that goal, then nothing happens. But if & when we do reach our goal, then everyone who placed an order will have a t-shirt shipped to them, credit card will be charged, and a total of $750.00 will be donated to Mitchell Lyne to help keep him alive!

Sure, insurance and Medicaid pay for some of the healthcare costs (while dishing out headaches)…but certainly not all of it.

And then there are the everyday costs that add up over time.

An example is the amount of paper towels & trash bags that are used up due to his dialysis treatments & cleanings. Mitchell’s Mom goes through an entire roll of PT daily, which in turn fills up an entire bag of trash. If you do the math, that is $7.49 for a 6-pack of Bounty paper towels & $5.00 for a 30-pack of trash bags, or over $35 per month.

And let’s not forget the cost of gas these days…to & from doctor’s appointments, dialysis clinic check-ins, trips to the grocery store and pharmacy to fill prescriptions. The expenses are hard for anyone to keep up with, let alone a family who has dedicated every minute of every day to keep their son alive.

So please consider paying it forward and purchase a t-shirt. And let’s be very clear…this isn’t any ol’ shirt that festivals hand out as freebees. The “Cotton Ringspun Fashion Fit Tee” is high-quality material, fits like a glove, and is super comfy. You do have the option to purchase a standard (boring) “Cotton Basic Tee” but it’s the same price so why not get the best bang for your buck donation!?

Click here & Visit the site now, time is running out.

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Kidney Donor ~ Myth busters

Thanks to the wonders of social media, I’ve come across several informative sites & blogs dedicated to educating people on kidney donation as well as advocating for recipients waiting for a match.

The Kidney Chronicles is penned by a living kidney donor, Tom, who gave the gift of life to Brenda in 2007.

In this particular post [see below], he captured the most frequent questions from other potential donors. I found the answers not only extremely informative, but equally refreshing.

Please take a moment to read this piece, and then share with others.

“When you know better, you do better.”  -Maya Angelou

Much love,

Mary Beth

Ask The Kidney Donor

By Tom Simon

I’ve been answering a lot of email questions lately from prospective kidney donors trying to decide whether to go forward with the procedure. The same questions always seem to crop up. Here they are:
I’m thinking of donating a kidney and my friends and family are freaking out! What should I tell them?

I’m happy to answer any questions, but I don’t want you to think I’m talking you into donating. It is a very personal issue, and you should make it based upon the facts of your life.

My friend Virginia Postrel wrote a great article called: “Here’s Looking at You, Kidney: How and why I became an organ donor — and how I kept people from talking me out of it.”
http://www.dynamist.com/articles-speeches/opeds/kidney.html

Her article started me thinking about donating, and her patience with my many dumb questions helped me during my own discernment process.

Most family members’ objections boil down to:
1. Fear of the surgery 2. Fear of living with one kidney

Remind your friends and family of the following things:
The donation of a kidney is laparoscopic surgery, meaning small incision and quicker recovery. Most donors are out of the hospital on the next day, back at work in two weeks, and back to normal in a month. The surgery is no more dangerous than any procedure done under general anesthesia. The anesthesia is the real risk factor. Check out your doctor and transplant center. Get comfortable with both. Ask a lot of questions.

There is no scientific evidence in 50 years of living kidney donations that there are any ill effects to living with one kidney. Within five weeks of donation, the remaining kidney swells in size and increases its filtering power (the “glomerular filtration rate”) to match the power of two kidneys. In short, you’ll have a single super-kidney instead of two simply adequate kidneys.

When kidney disease occurs, it nearly always strikes both kidneys at the same time. It’s not like one kidney fails and you find yourself knocking on wood, thankful that you’ve got a spare. If I should develop kidney disease, I will need treatment or a transplant – just like I’d need if I had two kidneys. If a kidney donor needs a transplant, they go straight to the front of the line on the kidney transplant list, which seems like a very fair deal to me.
What about saving your kidney in case one of your kids needs it someday?
This is the best argument I’ve heard against donating. That said, I couldn’t justify not saving a life today because it might inhibit my ability to possibly save one in the future. My wife has a spare kidney for them, and we both have loving families who may be willing to help if one of my kids is in need of a kidney. Moreover, neither my family nor my wife’s has any history of kidney disease, obesity, or diabetes.
What if something happens to your remaining kidney and you end up needing your second one?
Again, my family has no history of kidney disease. When kidney disease occurs, it nearly always strikes both kidneys at the same time. It’s not like one kidney fails and you find yourself knocking on wood, thankful that you’ve got a spare. If I should develop kidney disease, I will need treatment or a transplant – just like I’d need if I had two kidneys. If a kidney donor needs a transplant, they go straight to the front of the line on the kidney transplant list, which seems like a very fair deal to me.
What if the transplant fails? It will have been a waste!
It happens. Then you will probably feel a real sadness but no regret about your ultimate decision. All you can do is all you can do. The rest is up to the doctors, God, and your recipient’s body. Blood donors don’t expect accountability and ultimate success regarding the ultimate success of their donations. Kidney donors shouldn’t expect it either.
Have you had any residual pain or a feeling as if something is “missing?”
Nope, not even a little. In fact, if this were a science-fiction thriller where I was “missing” the memory of the 6 months following surgery, I would not have known it happened at all. Except for some small scars on my abdomen (see below).
The recovery process works in stages where there is some abdominal swelling (only you and your pants will notice) and the incision points will be tender for maybe six weeks after the surgery, but nothing permanent.
I found myself rather sleepy at night for six months following the surgery (like 9:30 p.m., rather than 11:00 p.m.). I think I was still healing internally. I think that evolved into a habit where I now go to bed earlier than I once did. I don’t think this is kidney-related as much as I just became accustomed to being well-rested and getting an appropriate amount of sleep. I only mention it because I have spoken to many others who found themselves rather sleepy at night long after the pain of the surgery had gone away.
Have you had to make any significant changes in your diet and/or exercise routines?
Not really. No more knife fighting for me. I used to be an amateur boxer, but I gave that up long before my surgery. Had I continued boxing through the time of my surgery, it would have been wise for me to stop since repeated blunt trauma to the one remaining kidney could evolve into a melancholy situation.
There are some drugs synthesized in the kidneys, such as ibuprofen, that you may want to avoid as to not over-task your remaining kidney. Tylenol is fine. I still take ibuprofen once in a while because it works better.
I’ve been a strict vegetarian for nearly 20 years. In theory, I guess it would be unwise for me to start gorging on buttsteaks, become obese, and contract Type 2 Diabetes. But that would be a dumb idea anyway… A kidney donation should not affect your diet.
Will I have to give up drinking alcohol?
There are a million reasons to quit drinking, but a kidney donation is not one of them. Feel free to drink all you please. The liver takes the beating from your boozing, not the kidney.
How have your scars healed?
There are three scars. The two right beneath my left ribcage look like healed bullet holes which accentuates my gangsta image. The three inch scar along the elastic-line of my boxer shorts is generally hidden from the public. None of them are particularly unsightly. They are pinker than my skin, but I did absolutely nothing to treat them or care for them. Now that I live in Hawaii, they’re probably getting too much sun.
This may call for some airbrushing when you appear in a 2010 swimsuit calendar, but I’m certain you won’t be alone.

Have you seen any changes in your overall health?
None whatsoever. My blood-work continues to be far within the normal range, and I feel like a million bucks. Again, I want to stress, there is absolutely no difference in my health or my life before and after (pending recovery) the procedure.

What have you learned?
From a public policy perspective, I think “altruistic” donors should consider starting a kidney chain where they could save a dozen lives with their kidney, rather than just one. Here’s a great article describing how it works:
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200907u/kidney-donation

These were less common a few years ago when I set out to give away a kidney, and I’m overjoyed to have helped my recipient, Brenda. But for people who have no recipient in mind, kidney chain donations clearly do the most good for the most people.

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March madness

What a whirlwind the last two weeks have been. March madness is in full swing.

First, acts of kindness exploded in full force, allowing Mitchell to be treated like a superstar for an evening, recounted in this blog post. The courageous guy, fighting for his life, got to enjoy himself by watching his favorite college basketball team up close & personal. No really, check out his view from right behind the players’ bench.

Then, if that wasn’t amazing enough, a local TV new station decided to cover the superstar “story.” You see, in my former life I worked in the news. One of my roles was to read press releases and decide which pitches were newsworthy. Because of this experience, it helps me in my current marketing/PR roles at work…and luckily…during my free time convince reporters to give pro bono publicity for a sweet 18-year-old who needs a kidney. In this case the spin went something like this: The Virginia Commonwealth University basketball team plays George Mason at the Siegel Center tonight. But while most fans will be focused on the rivalry, they won’t realize there is an extra special young man in the stands….meet Mitchell Lyne.

The clip can be watched here: Mitchell Lyne Needs a Kidney to Live

Please post the link on your social media pages, send an email to contacts, or spread the word in conversations among friends and family. If it gets in the right hands, who knows, maybe a kidney donor is right around the corner.

In addition to that night of magical memories, another meaningful mission is in the works.

A few months ago I moved to Baltimore and started working at Johns Hopkins in the marketing & communications department. The irony of this connection + being a potential donor to Mitchell is outlined in this blog post. Well I took a shot in the dark and asked Mitchell’s sister Stacey & his Mom if they would consider having him sent to Hopkins for a second opinion. Seeing as though he has received care by the same hospital in Richmond for over a decade, I completely understand why the family feels loyalty. At the same time though, there really is nothing to lose by seeking extra eyes and hands on Mitchell’s medical records. He has had so many complications and condition isn’t getting any better {case in point, his first full day of dialysis was delayed due to a stomach lining infection ~ it is extremely painful & can even be fatal}. You just never know…and don’t want to ever wonder: What if?

Low & behold, they decided to go for it!

Even though the hospital doesn’t accept his insurance. Even though the world-renowned kidney transplant expert is incredibly busy. Even though the administration team is swamped. Even though…all of these hurdles, God had other plans. Mitchell & his Mom are headed to Baltimore in two weeks for a consultation with the same doctor who has performed over 1,000 kidney transplant surgeries, has appeared on network TV in the reality series Hopkins 24, was part of the first-ever 5-way kidney swap transplant, and regularly travels all over the world giving talks to his peers.

He has no idea who I am. I’ve passed Dr. Robert Montgomery in the hospital halls {to be fair, you really can’t miss him or his distinct beard}. I’ve read countless articles about him. I’ve even sat in his office for a meeting with his colleagues {and completely got distracted by framed photos hanging on the wall, standing next to several American Presidents}. I’ve secretly hoped, from Day 1, that he would meet Mitchell. Yes there are hundreds of brilliant physicians at the esteemed #1 hospital in the United States, but for whatever reason Dr. Montgomery has been singed on my kidney heart.

Ironically, I haven’t even met Mitchell face-to-face, and will get to look at him in the eyes for the first time, on the same day he gets to meet the Hopkins family. I am looking forward to hearing what comes from this Meeting of Hope — and excited to see what else God has up His sleeves. He continues to use me in ways I could have never imagined, and give the master innovator every ounce of credit.

Much love,

Mary Beth

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