Living Donors Honored

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

October 23, 2005

Thousands are on organ transplant lists across the country and many never live to receive them.

However, there are people called living donors. You can donate your kidney, lung, or part of your liver to a friend or a stranger and live to talk about it.

"I would absolutely do it again. In a heartbeat," said Barbara Greb--a living donor.

Greb is one of many honored for donating her kidney to a friend. "The joy of seeing someone else benefit from something that I can do makes it all worthwhile," she explained.

The donors wore flowers at the award ceremony--representing the lives they gave to their recipients.

"She's doing fabulously. It's amazing the transformation in her life. I look at her and think 'this is just a miracle'," said Greb.

There are risks--but historically it's safe.

"We know that people can live with only one kidney. The liver regenerates so when you remove a portion of the liver it's going to grow back. So we know that overall it's very safe, but again it's not risk free," said Anita Sites of the UVa Transplant Department.

Many people are eligible to be donors--but first your bloodt ype must match

"You have to be in perfect physical and emotional health to be able to go through this type of procedure," said Sites.

UVa has performed almost 1,400 living donor kidney transplant and about 40 liver transplants. There are currently 500 people waiting for kidneys and 100 for livers on the UVa list.

If you are interested in being a living donor, you can call the UVA Transplant Center at 1-800-543-8814.

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