FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The simple act of holding hands to raise awareness and support for National Donor Awareness Month brought together organ, tissue and corneal donors, as well as recipients and staff at Lutheran Hospital on Thursday.
According to Living Donor Coordinator at Lutheran Hospital Brittani Sprunger, there are about 165 people waiting for a kidney transplant at Lutheran.
Kidney donations are something that is near to Sprunger’s heart. Her mom has needed two kidney transplants and Sprunger was able to help her with one.
Another two-time kidney recipient, Brandon Spice, was at Lutheran’s “Linking Hands for Life” event Thursday. He has had two kidney donations in his life, one in 1999 and a second in 2012. Spice is very grateful and he hopes to one day meet his donors, who he called true heroes.
His advice for anyone thinking of being a donor is to make sure your family knows your wishes.
There are two different kinds of donations, a living donation and a deceased donation. Living donations make up about half of the population of donors. People can also sign up to be a deceased donor. A living donation kidney lasts about 15 years on average, but can last much longer. A deceased kidney last on average about 10 years.
In Indiana, the average time a person waits to receive a kidney is about 3 years. In larger cities such as Chicago, Los Angles and New York that number can increase to more than a decade.
April is National Donor Awareness Month and officials at Lutheran said this is a time to remind everyone that one person can make a difference for many. The hospital said one donor can help an additional 50 people with tissue donation and can help give the gift of sight with a cornea donation.
Nationwide, there are more than 120,000 people on the transportation list, including nearly 1,500 Hoosiers.
Donating is of no cost to the donor.
Anyone looking for more information on becoming a donor can contact Brittani Sprunger at 260-435-6211 or visit the Indiana Donor Network’s website.