If you are on the waiting list for a liver transplant or kidney transplant, a living donor may save your life. But asking someone to be your donor can be a challenge. And how do you find someone who is willing to help? For that, you need a living donor champion.

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A living donor champion may be a friend, family member, co-worker, or anyone else who is willing to take the lead in helping you find a living donor. They offer support, encouragement, and spread the word as far as they can – letting people know that you need help.

RELATED: The Impact of One Organ Donor

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The Importance of Your Living Donor Champion

Every moment spent waiting for a transplant is critical. The sooner you can find a living donor, the sooner you can get off of the waiting list and get back to being healthy. A champion’s role includes:

  • Helping you find a living donor quickly and before you are too sick
  • Allowing you to focus on staying healthy while they focus on finding you a donor
  • Sharing your story with as many people as possible in hopes of connecting with someone who can help
  • Offering support and inspiration as you go through this difficult process

Most likely, a living donor will be someone who you know or are familiar with, and your champion is here to help you find that person.

RELATED: What Is Living-Donor Liver Transplant Surgery?

How Does the Champion Find a Donor?

To find your living donor, you will help your champion gather all of the information they need to share. Here is what they will need:

  • Your story and why you need help
  • Your blood type and any other relevant information surrounding your condition
  • General facts and information about living donation

With this information, there are multiple ways they can reach potential donors, including:

  • Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social sites can be great ways for your champion to connect with and reach possible donors.
  • Word-of-mouth – Whether it’s the occasional phone call with a family member or friend or bumping into someone familiar at the grocery store, any time spent with someone is another chance for the champion to share your story.
  • Social settings – Regular gatherings, such as book clubs, recreational sports leagues, church groups, and other community-based gatherings are places your champion can look to find a suitable donor.

With the help and support of a champion, you can start connecting with people who may be able to save your life. If you have questions about living donation, or what it takes to become a donor, please visit the UPMC Transplant Services website.

About Transplant Services

Established in 1981, UPMC Transplant Services is one of the foremost organ transplant centers in the world. Our clinicians have performed more than 20,000 organ transplant procedures, including liver, kidney, pancreas, single and double lung, heart, and more. We are home to some of the world’s foremost transplant experts and have a long history of developing new antirejection therapies—so organ recipients can enjoy better health with fewer restrictions.