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gifts of life

By Brandon Hendrix and Brenda Rodgers

I’VE ALWAYS FELT LIKE organ donation was an

amazing gift that a person can give as their last good deed. In my opinion, there’s no

reason to NOT donate organs after a person passes away, as long as it’s feasibly possible.

My friend Brandon is currently looking for a living donor. He needs a kidney transplant. I didn’t know much about living donors until meeting a friend about 10 years ago that was living with a kidney he had donated from his brother. What a miraculous thing to do! We

just wanted to share with you some stories of how organ donation can be life changing! I hope you’ll sign up as an organ donor and maybe even a living donor today! Brandon with his wife Donna and daughters Camryn and Amber.

DONATE LIFE More than 115,000 Americans are in need of life-saving organ transplants, and it’s over 5,300 in Georgia. One organ and tissue donor can potentially help as many as 75 people. Organ and tissue donation does not disfigure the body or interfere with funeral arrangements, including open casket services. The donor’s family does NOT pay for the costs associated with donation and all major religions approve of organ and tissue donation. In fact, many religions consider donation the ultimate charitable act. Georgians can join the state’s organ and tissue donor registry through the website www.DonateLifeGeorgia, when obtaining/ renewing a driver license or identification card at a local driver license officem or by calling Donate Life Georgia directly at 1-866-57-SHARE (1-866-577-4273) and requesting a registry card. In conjunction with donor registration, please share your donation decision with your family and encourage them to do the same. LifeLink® of Georgia is the not-for-profit organization that coordinates organ and tissue donation in the state of Georgia. For more information about organ and tissue donation, please contact Tracy Ide, Sr. Public Affairs Coordinator, at 800-544-6667 or visit www.LifeLinkFoundation.org. 10 Athens-Oconee Parent

Brandon’s Story M


y name is Brandon and I have End Stage Kidney Disease. I’ve been living with this disease for the last 4 years, and as one could imagine, it has its difficulties. While there are plenty of people in the world who live with kidney disease, it affects everyone differently. In my case, it has affected me mentally and physically. You deal with the initial impact of having a disease that you could very well die from. Then you start thinking about the future or having limited time. Then you start to think about your kids and what would happen to them when you’re gone. That is the most troubling thought, especially given the times we live in. Over time those feelings will come and go. For some people these things can be hard to overcome. This is where medication,

meditation, and/or prayer come in handy. There are a few physical challenges to the disease as well. A major organ starts to have complications and you will feel the effects. Your kidneys serve a couple of purposes including regulating blood pressure and filtering toxins out of your blood. When your kidneys stop working properly, those toxins build up. In my case, it gave me fish breath. Luckily after 2 years of dialysis (and 2 years’ worth of mints), it cleared itself up. However, fish breath is minor compared to the general fatigue, aches and pains, vomiting and so on that have accompanied me for the last few years, and there’s the medications you have to take to keep everything running as smoothly as possibly on top of the dialysis treatments.

Here is a little information for those not familiar with the basics of dialysis. Dialysis is used to maintain your remaining kidney function and extend your life until a transplant can be obtained. There are currently two types of dialysis: Peritoneal and Hemodialysis. Peritoneal dialysis can be done at home and supplies are sent to you monthly. Hemodialysis is usually done at your dialysis center by a trained medical staff. There are benefits to both types of dialysis and the kind you choose depends on the type of lifestyle you wish to have or maintain. All of this brings us to the importance of organ donation. While dialysis can help extend your life for a period of time, it is not a permanent fix. This is why it is so important for people to become organ donors

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