What’s News…

In the fall of 2011 I was named Most Inspirational Senior Athlete in the Tennessee Senior Olympics in a statewide vote on facebook. There were a lot of inspirational athletes and stories and it was humbling to be honored. About a dozen of us also appeared in TV commercials for the Games’ lead sponsor: Blue Cross Blue Shield of TN. Below is the vignette they put together on me for the introduction of the nominees for this contest called “Choose Your Champ.”

Senior Olympics Inspiration pic

Funny story: After auditions they neglected to tell me I would be “the cyclist” and I showed up ready for basketball since that’s how I dressed for the audition. At the shoot that Friday it was 5:30 AM, the first scene in a tight schedule. Fortunately a crew member had this bike but it was fixed gear. After 20 or so takes I was exhausted. Oh, and that’s a borrowed shirt from costumes. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention I had no cycling shorts with me so I’m only wearing some very shear and tight compression shorts I had worn under my basketball uniform.

Like I said: Very humbling!

In Other News:

Forget London; Senior Olympics get under way Friday

Anne Steve London
Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 10:53 pm
Forget London; Senior Olympics get under way Friday

2011 Tennessee Senior Olympics’ Cycling medalists in the 55-59 age group, Jay Swafford (silver), Greg Clark (gold) and Steve Baum (bronze)

Almost 2000 athletes will compete right here

Brentwood Home Page Intern
Williamson County is getting a head start on the Olympic Games 2012 by hosting the Tennessee Senior Olympics, which kick off Friday and run through Thursday, July 19. This year’s number of registered athletes is record-breaking, surpassing 1,962 athletes in all. All participants live in Tennessee and are at least 50 years in age.

Williamson County Parks and Recreation athletics department, Battleground Academy and sponsors BlueCross BlueShield and Walgreens are providing over 300 volunteers to facilitate the Games.

Brentwood will play an important role in the games, hosting a variety of the events which include swimming, track and field, horseshoes, table tennis, bowling, badminton, tennis, basketball, archery, racquetball, cycling, volleyball, softball, shuffleboard, golf, pickleball, 10K and 5K races, a fitness walk, and a one-mile power walk.

For the first time ever, the state games include a 50-meter dash heat in track. Approximately 100 participants signed up to take part in it.

Brentwood’s Indoor Sports Complex and the Maryland Farms YMCA will serve as competition venues. Other venues include Battle Ground Academy, Franklin Recreational Center, Franklin Entertainment Center, Fieldstone Farms, the Academy Park, the Ag Expo Center, College Grove Recreational Center, Christ Church at Arrington, and Pine Creek Golf Course.

The Tennessee Senior Olympics strives to “promote a healthy lifestyle among seniors through fitness, sports, and an active involvement in life.” TSO’s Executive Director Christine Dewbre says watching the participants compete is “very inspirational.”

One example of such inspiration is Williamson County’s very own Steve Baum. Baum, 57, battled liver and kidney disease for eight years until he received a transplant for both organs in November 2009. Until his surgery, everyday tasks like walking half a mile were unbearable.

After the two transplants, Baum faced a couple significant challenges: rebuilding his deteriorated muscles and learning to combat his obstructed breathing caused by the 21-inch scar across his stomach. Instead of focusing on his past obstacles, however, Baum set his sights on the future with the goal of playing basketball at the 2010 Transplant Games. He met that goal a mere nine months after his surgery.

Last year was Baum’s first year to participate in the Tennessee Senior Olympics. He entered in three open events and brought home bronze medals in each. This year, he signed up for a grand total of 10 events, but a recent injury to his right elbow, however, will limit his ability to compete in all of them.

When asked what the Tennessee Senior Olympics means to him, Baum summed it up in one word: joy.

“I’ve gone from dying to winning a bronze in the triple jump. It’s just pure joy.”

For more information, download the “2012 State Finals Athlete Program” at http://www.tnseniorolympics.com/

Thank You to The Tennessean for this article:
Here’s WHAT’S NEWS from the recipient page at the National Kidney Foundation:
Special “Thanks!” to Joe Biddle, TN’s top sports columnist, for his kind remarks:
Thank you Leah and Franklin Life for bringing attention to our cause!
Conversations Today With Victor Bright 12 min. version
The Road to the US Transplant Games
8/14 One of our team managers from Team Alabama shared more information about Vivian and Brooke at my request:
Hi SteveHope you are feeling well–how is the leg?
Here is some information about Brooke and Vivian, hope it helps–it is a little “rambly” background but you will be able to pull what you need: 
Brooke is 14 years old and had her heart transplant as an infant.  She lives in Mississippi but when Kim and Will–her Mom and Dad decided to get her involved with the Transplant Games they only wanted to come with Alabama–so we got permission from Mississippi and they have been Team Members since 2002.  Brooke has won countless medals over the years in cycling, track and field, swimming, basketball,bowling and others.  She has works hard to carry the message of Organ Donation–as a brownies scout and a girl scout she and her Mom worked to have an Organ Donation Awareness badge part of the merit badge system–she has organized bike rallies to ride and race money for organ awareness and speaks at local schools and churches telling her story and why people should be organ donors.  Not only has she overcome and is thriving with her heart transplant but a few years ago she defeated cancer–cause they believe by her meds.  We nominated her for this award because it would be easy for her to shrink back and try to “be like other kids” but instead she embraces her gift of life and shows how grateful she is but talking about it to all who will listen.  Her Mom and Dad and brother Blake are all so supportive–they are a beautiful family that believes in giving back.  She truly deserved to be recognized. She was awarded the Wendy Marx award for Organ Donor Awareness.Vivian Herren earned her college degree at the age of 40.  She had raised two kids as a single Mom and was determined to make her life better.  When she found out she had diabetes and later advanced kidney disease–her grown son Joe Odeneal ( who has also come to the Games with us but was unable to this year) gave her one of his kidneys.  She thrived–speaking at churches and community groups all around Blount County.She first joined Team Alabama in 2004.  She has had a colorful career as a transplant athlete–competing in cycling, swimming, track and field, and several other events.  Her first Games her bicycle malfunctioned during her race and she crashed into a parked car–but not just any parked car–a police car!
She was okay and went on to win a medal in cycling.  She also is a multi-medalist in several sports over the years.  An active volunteer in the Transplant community–Vivian is a part of the UAB Transplant Picnic Committee and worked as Camp Volunteer at Camp Bridges for transplant kids and their families.  In 2006 she was volunteering and fell while walking on the lakefront and broke her ankle.  Over the next few weeks due to diabetes and the way her ankle was wrapped she suffered tremendously as her leg got infected and continually worse.  This resulted in an amputation from the knee down.  It did not stop her for a minute.  As soon as she was able she began to train for the 2008 Games.  She was determined to swim and to throw the shot put and discus.  The pool proved to be a bit much and after swallowing water and exhausting herself she was taken to the University of Pittsburgh hospital and kept overnight for observation.  She kicked up a fuss telling the Doctors that they could observe her but she was fine and she had three events the next morning.  Not only did they release her but her ER Docs and two nurses came to cheer her on as she won the Gold in the shot and discus–all on one leg.   She was awarded the Astellas Courage award for her unfailing attitude and efforts to carry the message of Organ Donation no matter what sort of personal crisis she is facing.
– Joanne McGuire-Baxley
4/16  Here is an email response that was especially moving. Please think of/pray for this man that he can receive the treatment he needs and he has the strength to get there.

Hi Steve, I am a  ____ employee working at ______________ in West Virginia and read your Give the Gift of Life story. I have a brother that is 38, and he has Cirrhosis of the Liver and failing kidneys – He lives with me because his wife has divorced him. He has no income and he just applied for and receives Medicaid. He has hit his rock bottom and wants to make a come back. I have also learned a lot from this journey that we are traveling. I understand that some people don’t want to treat him as a “sick” individual because a lot of his illness was self-inflicted. He wants to turn his life around and has not drank anything since Jan. 3rd. I feel that if he wants to turn his life around  – he deserves the chance. I have been an organ donor for a few years now and have tried to give blood quite a few times but am unable due to low iron.  I have tried to get my brother on a waiting list for a liver and kidney but he has to be sober for 6 months before they will consider him, which is ok because he will have proved himself by then. I have asked about his Medicaid paying and it seems that Out of State Hospitals don’t want to take on WV state Medicaid. He cannot afford a supplemental insurance. I really haven’t had the chance to talk with anyone with these kind of issues and when I read your story and all of the comments, I felt it was there for me for a reason. I am wanting to know when your book will be out about your experience. I am hoping that it will answer some of the questions that I have. I know that you probably have insurance through your job which is quite different from what my brother has and both of your illnesses were brought on by two totally different reasons, but the bottom line is that you both want to live & organ donation has made this happen for you and hopefully it will work for my brother too. My brother has not had the energy to do much and the swelling is un-real – yes, he too looks like a “b” only with elephant feet! A lot of his medicines make him sick too, but he has to get used to this kind of thing because from now until whenever he will be taking medicine. The doctor’s are juggling and trying to just make him more comfortable for the time being. I really appreciate your story and thank you for promoting the Gift of Life.
I responded to _________ on 4/9 and also forwarded the unedited email to our Donate Life TN HQ for forwarding to the appropriate agency. Again, please think of/pray for this man that he receives the treatment he needs and has the strength to get there. To Life!
The following appears on the U.S. Department of the Treasury intranet website:

Give the gift of life

Steve Baum holds his granddaughter Lily Anita Sefton.
April is Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Month. Consider becoming a donor!

The U.S. Department of the Treasury participates in the Workplace Partnership for Life initiative sponsored by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. You can learn more about organ and tissue donation by visiting the ERC.

Organ donation saves lives, and no one knows that better than Steve Baum, W&I Accounts Management in Nashville.

In 1973, we learned my family carried the gene for polycystic kidney disease. Symptoms started showing in me in 1990, and my liver was covered in cysts as well. These are exclusive conditions and rare. I learned in 2006 that my kidneys were failing quickly and all three organs were becoming “massively enlarged” and having a negative affect on all the organ functions around them. The swelling began to increase rapidly, and I was placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing transplant list in January 2009. I like to joke that in profile I looked like a small letter “b” with feet.

Because of my rare blood type, I was lucky and got the call to go to the hospital on Nov. 11, 2009. The wait could just as easily have been three times as long. My donor suffered brain death following a motorcycle accident. His identity will never be known to me. The liver they removed from me weighed 30 pounds and the one kidney, nine pounds. I left the hospital on Dec. 12, 40 pounds lighter, and I still carry the other enlarged kidney.

That Thanksgiving, in the hospital surrounded by family, was the best Thanksgiving ever! Because of excellent doctors and a lot of prayer and support from family, friends and neighbors, I was able to return to work as scheduled on Jan. 4, 2010. I have a lot of energy and only require limited accommodation. I am completing a book about the experience that will be used in fundraising, and I volunteer and do public presentations for Donate Life Tennessee. Register to be a donor today!

Have you been involved in some way in organ donation and have a story to share? Please let us know using the comments feature. We’ll gladly post those comments that answer the question and abide by our commenting rules.

Contributed by Tracey Babcock

Posted: Thursday, April 1, 2010

Last updated: Thursday, April 1, 2010

33 Comments Posted:

Oldest First Newest First
Thursday, April 01, 2010 7:35 AM Comment originator.Maryanne Somers
I can sympathize with Steve as my fiance has been waitng for a kidney for three years now. We got the call a few weeks that the hospital had a donar for him but it turned out to be a damaged kidney. I tried to give him one of mine but because of having high blodd pressure and my own kidney issues I was not a candidate. I urge everyone to consider becoming a donar. You have no idea of the impact you could have, on not just one life, but a whole circle of lives.
Thursday, April 01, 2010 7:48 AM Comment originator.Gloria Goldberg
My brother died suddenly in 2004 of a heart attack. At the hospital they asked me if I would sign a donor request form. I did and I did it gladly because when our son died in 1991 he had a donor card, but because he died in an auto accident by the time the autopsy was done it was too late to donate any of his organs. He believed in organ donation and recruited fellow college students to sign the back of their driver license. My brother’s donation of skin,corenas and liver helped 9 people live. I am greatful that we were able to help others.
Thursday, April 01, 2010 8:08 AM Comment originator.Sandra Almas
Hi Steve! Congratulations and God bless you on your successful transplants and your much improved health. Polycystic Kidney’s is just one of the three rare diseases that run on my Mother’s side of the Family. Though she was placed on an emergency donor list, she lost her battle with her disease and other complications in 1976. My Mom’s Brother in Albion, In. received a Kidney from his wife several years ago and is doing well. I was tested for many years after my Mother’s passing to ensure that I was free from any of the diseases that haunted her Family. I am happy and proud to not only be a Blood Donor, but I am also listed with the National Organ and Tissue Donation Registry and the Bone Marrow Transplant Registry. I encourage every healthy individual to please consider being an organ and tissue donor and help save a life. Thanks! =0)
Thursday, April 01, 2010 8:11 AM Comment originator.Lynn Watson
On Febuary 14, 1998 we donated our daughter’s organs. Kaylee was only 8 months old when she had an accidental fall which resulted in brain death. On Valentine’s Day her heart went to a 2 month old, her kidneys went to a 41 year old man, and her liver went to a 2 year old. Her story was aired in California following the surgery from her to the boy that received her heart. They also followed up a month latrer when our 2 families met and I was able to heaar my daughter’s heart beating in the little boy. The 2 year old with my daughter’s liver passed away but we gave her a year more with her family. The 41 year old I have not met but know he is back raising his children. I speak for oragn donation at alot of events and stay in touch with my daughter’s heart recipient. My other 9 children also participate in organ donor awareness. This is an important issue and helps so many.
Thursday, April 01, 2010 8:36 AM Comment originator.George Hellerman
I was lucky. When it came time for my cornea transplants, there was no waiting list. In fact when I first went to the doctor he received a call from the eye bank asking if he had enough for his surgeries the next day. I heard the stories of people who had received cornea transplants and had to wait months on a list and get that call in the middle of the night to come to the hospital. I join Tracey and Maryanne in urging everyone to be a donor.
Thursday, April 01, 2010 8:38 AM Comment originator.Patricia Hughes
I my self am waiting for a kidney, Peritoneal Dialysis ( Hemo–Dialysis ) I do 4 treatments a day one @ work every day . There’s always the worries of infections and wonder will I ever be able to get away from all the tubes / testing / boxes and boxes of medical supplies that have taken over my life. I stay positive and am thankful for my Family.They are…INCREDIBLE…Life is good
Thursday, April 01, 2010 9:31 AM Comment originator.Carol Milosch
On April 21, my daughter will be having a Stem Cell (bone marrow) transplant due to a re–ocurrence of Hodgkins Lymphoma. She knows that a young man 26 will be donating his stem cells. We hope this transplant will give her many more birthdays to celebrate with her 13month old son. I thank everybody that registers as a organ donor and bone marrow donor. Life is Good
Thursday, April 01, 2010 9:44 AM Comment originator.Ronald McRae
I received a cornea transplant in 1998, after a short wait of a few weeks. I have Keratoconus in both eyes. The transplant was for the left eye, the eye where the disease was most advanced. Now it has the stronger vision of the two. The transplant was made available by a donor, who unfortunately had to suffer his own loss of life, in a car accident.
Thursday, April 01, 2010 9:46 AM Comment originator.Lori Duenhoft
May God continue to bless you Steve and your family. I encourage anyone I can to get involved with organ donation. My Father passed away of a massive heart attack in 1996 and while he was not the healthiest person in the world he was able to donate his ears, skin and corneas. I am a 2 gallon blood donor and close to 3. I also am on the national bone marrow transplant registry. One of my best friends son had bone marrow transplant at age 2 because of a disease called Wiscott Aldridge that is passed from mother to child during delivery and He is a Freshman in college today and his future and life expectancy are great!!!
Thursday, April 01, 2010 9:57 AM Comment originator.Andrea Ballard
I think it is extremely important to be an organ donor because it can save the lives of so many people. My mother suffered from Colitis for over 30 yrs. All the years of medication she took to control the desease nearly distroyed her liver. My mother looked like a small letter “b” with feet as well due to all the swelling. She became extremely ill and was hospitalized for almost two months. At one point she was given 30 days to live. I am so thankful that the expiration date the Dr. gave my mother was wrong. She received a liver transplant in July of ‘08.
Thursday, April 01, 2010 10:03 AM Comment originator.Mary Jacqueline Greening
I am a strong advocate of organ donation. I’ve personally experienced the positive impact a donation has on the quality of life of a recipient and his/her family. On June 5, 2006 I gave the gift of life to my husband by donating one of my kidneys. Within 6 weeks, we were both back at work and keeping up with our two sons’ sports and other activities. Four years later, we are enjoying our good health and life, in general!
Thursday, April 01, 2010 11:14 AM Comment originator.Julia Mavromatis
My son died in 1999, needing a heart/double lung transplant. After his funeral, I was at home watching the news and became upset hearing of 3 local patients who died, and their family members overruled their desire to become organ donors. I thought it was disrespectful to their decision to help others in need if anything happened to them. I have indicated on my drivers license to donate my organs if anything happens to me, and my daughters have also.
Thursday, April 01, 2010 11:33 AM Comment originator.Karen Karakitsos
God Bless you Steve, it is wonderful people have ‘stepped up’ to help one another by consenting to donations. In the State of NJ I was happy to be asked if I wanted to donate when I went to renew my driver’s lic. in January. Now the State imprints the Front of the License with “Organ Donor” along the bottom. Now it’s final, and relatives don’t have to give their consent to the hospital. May all the recipients continue to share long blessed lives with their families!!
Thursday, April 01, 2010 11:59 AM Comment originator.Beth Brock
I have chills from reading all of your stories. Fortunately, I have never been in need of a donation, but I WANT TO HELP! My heart goes out to all of you and your families. Organ donors are truely gifts from God 🙂
Thursday, April 01, 2010 12:32 PM Comment originator.Chad Hancey
In 2007 I donated a kidney to someone I had never met. Living donation is something we truly have control over in ending the shortage of viable organs for those who are waiting and in many instances dying while they wait. As noted by Steve, polycystic kidney disease is genetic and the most common cause of kidney failure. Families with PKD have to make very difficult choices – they can donate to a family member with the reality of their own kidney failure looming over their heads. It’s a choice that doesn’t have to be made if living donors come forward.Living donation is 97% successful and in most instances is done laparoscopically. In my case, I was admitted on a Friday morning and left the hospital the following Monday morning. Since then my life has gone on without missing a beat – no physically limitations whatsoever. I’d do it again if I could.
Thursday, April 01, 2010 1:24 PM Comment originator.Jennifer Wyatt
My mother in law received a kidney transplant last year luckily she didn’t have to wait because her daughter was able to donate hers, but it has helped push me into being a donor.
Thursday, April 01, 2010 1:33 PM Comment originator.Gay Carroll
May GOD continue to bless you Steve and your family. I am a strong advocate of organ donation. On July 7, 2009, I gave my husband the gift of life by donating one of my kidneys to him. We’ve always been a loving couple and we are truly convinced that after going through this experience, we are truly soulmates.
Thursday, April 01, 2010 1:52 PM Comment originator.Lisa Munns
Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so glad to read success stories from people like you. I am currently being tested to be an organ donor and this just confirms and strengthens my decision and desire. May God bless you with continued health and happiness.
Thursday, April 01, 2010 1:53 PM Comment originator.Cathy Rosvold
My husband, Bob, age 57 died from head trauma after a motorcycle accident in August 2007. After hearing my husband’s fate, the doctor asked if we would consider organ donation. Our children and I in our grief didn’t hesitate with a “yes”.Bob donated 2 kidneys, liver, lots of tissue for transplant and eyes for research. Three people are alive and many lives improved from one check on a driver’s license.The donation process is difficult for the donor’s family but stories like Steve’s helps heal the heart. If you ever get a chance to write to the donor family, do so, it means so much.Remember to register to be a donor and make your family aware of your wishes.
Thursday, April 01, 2010 2:16 PM Comment originator.Kimberlee Hansen
I personally am a Donor I strongly belive in donating If I know I could save soembody else then im all for it, the Descision came when My Favorite Aunt, grandma and Grandpa died all in the same year unfortuantley granma and gramps coulndt be donors but my Auntie did we havent got to meet any recievers yet but one day would like to…My 3 year old Niece was killed in a car accident and she got to save five lives I was told the day she passed three organs actually got to stay in primary childrens hospital and one was trnasported else where…Please Donate…save a live…
Thursday, April 01, 2010 3:21 PM Comment originator.Erwin Hein
This article and the comments above caused me to check my driver’s license. Yep, it has an Organ Donor logo on it.

I donate blood platelets and plasma once a month. So far I have donated 17+ gallons. I started doing that long before I joined the IRS, but am glad that the IRS and union contract support that activity.

About once a year the blood bank calls me to donate white blood cells. Those donations are designated for a specific patient. I usually have to donate white blood cells the day after I receive the call. Within 24 hours after my donation, those white blood cells are being intravenously fed to the patient. Of course I never know the identity of the patient, but it sure is cool to know that I am helping some sick person.

Another route: donation of the whole body to a medical college. Both my parents donated their body to the University of Cincinnati Medical School. Those bodies are used for demonstrations and for hands–on work by the med students.

I personally like the organ donation idea though. The idea of helping a sick person become healthy is special.

God gave me this body. God takes this body away when He calls me to Heaven. It is only right that I share any useful parts of this body when I no longer need it.

Thursday, April 01, 2010 3:57 PM Comment originator.Heather Danford
LYNN WATSON – I do not know you but, through all of your grief losing your baby to be able to hear her heart beating in the little boy I can not imagine how you felt, the sorrow and the joy at the same time. It is not a hard decision for me to be a donor or my children to be on the donor list, what a miracle to all of the above donors or someone being helped by a donation. To give someone sight, hearing, or a heart beat, all I can say is WOW. For joy to come from sorrow. Thank you all for your comments and God Bless.
Thursday, April 01, 2010 4:16 PM Comment originator.Barbara Stuber
My youngest sister became a living donor when she was a match for a kindey transplant for a former co–worker of her’s. I have always had organ donor marked on my drivers license, but found more respect for my sister as she donated a kidney without hesitation once she found she was a match for her co–worker/friend.
Thursday, April 01, 2010 4:37 PM Comment originator.Karen Durkee
I have one friend who received a heart transplant several years ago. Since then she has been a school board member and watched her son graduate from high school. Another friend has received a liver transplant and has been able to go back to work and support his family. A third friend received a stem cell transplant and has been able to do a lot of volunteer work in the community and see her youngest graduate from high school. Every day my friends feel blessed.
Thursday, April 01, 2010 5:05 PM Comment originator.Lynda Westfall
Congratulations Steve! Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) runs on my fathers side and I was diagnosed with it several years ago. I am thankful that I have wonderful friends and family that have already offered to donate, should I need it in the future.
Thursday, April 01, 2010 5:31 PM Comment originator.Myra Massey
Oh what a blessing it is to read each of the stories. My heart really goes out to Patricia Hughes. I can really relate to what is happening in your life. My husband was diagnosed with ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) in January 2007. He was hospitalized that same night had surgery and began dialysis the next morning.

My husband opted for the peritoneal machine and received his dialysis nightly as he slept. It was a major adjustment for our family but well worth it.

On July 19, 2009, we received the call to come to the hospital, they had a kidney. Today, my husband is doing well, back to work, doing lawn work, swimming and enjoying life again.

Thursday, April 01, 2010 6:14 PM Comment originator.Patricia Becker
Steve, I am rejoicing with you that you are able to share in the wonder of grandparenting. 🙂 May you celebrate many transplant anniversaries! I have several friends who have received kidneys; one received a pancreas also. Another friend is on the liver transplant list. It is a wonderful gift to be able to give and receive. Once I am cancer free for five years (Sept 23, 2010!), I will be able to begin donating blood again. I can’t wait!! Patricia Hughes, hang in there. A friend of mine was on capd–cppd, also. It was hard, but he was finally able to get his transplant. I hope your kidney comes soon and that you are healthy and well to receive it. May God bless you.
Thursday, April 01, 2010 7:18 PM Comment originator.Daris Boggs
I had a kidney transplant on Sept. 19th, 2005. The Dr.s believe it was either an allergic reaction to amoxycillen or too much use of ibuprofen. I was working in a retail store at the time and had to quit in Feb. 2003 because of it. I was on dialysis for two and a half years and in that time I nearly died 4 times. A family member offered to donate a kidney to me. She strung me along for 9 months and then confessed it was just a ploy to bilk money from my father and I. I found that out on a Friday. The following Monday I called the transplant clinic and told them she would not be donating and to put me back on the waiting list. The next day they had a kidney for me.Getting the transplant was like hitting the lottery, however paying for the anti–rejection drugs to keep the kidney was another matter. Medicare pays for end stage renal failure, 80%. But after you have a transplant they will only help pay for the medicine for 3 years. The drugs I am on cost nearly $30,000 a year. So, I had to find a job without a pre–existing conditions clause in their insurance. I filled out 162 federal job applications in a 6 month period and finally the IRS called in Sept. 2006. Unfortunately I had to leave the State of Ohio for Latham NY. I had never lived outside of the state. I had to leave behind my family and everyone I knew. Then after I got to Latham they said they would be laying everyone off in 2 months. Fortunately another job I applied for called and I ended up in the Andover Service Center. I feel very lucky to get the job because I will have to take these anti–rejection drugs for the rest of my life or until the kidney fails. The average life of a transplanted kidney is 12–15 years, but with medical advancements I am very optimistic about my chances of mine lasting much longer.Yes, checking the donor box on a drivers license is important, but you can also donate blood or even offer to be a live donor. The IRS will even provide leave for live donors.Steve Baum and I as well as thousands of others were very lucky. Thousands die each year waiting for a transplant. Please consider checking the donor box, being a living donor or even donating blood. Just one pint of blood could mean the difference between life and death. Thank you Steve for sharing your story.
Thursday, April 01, 2010 8:37 PM Comment originator.Mary Daily
Since I first heard of being able to donate tissues and organs, I have signed my donor card. My whole family knows of my wishes and they know I am very serious about it! I lost a friend in 2007 to liver disease. He got the call a couple of times, but both times, there was a problem with the liver, so he never got his new liver. His wife and two children now have to live the rest of their lives with only his memory. If you haven’t signed your donor card, please do so, but don’t stop there. Make sure your family knows your wishes and make sure they are willing to comply!
Friday, April 02, 2010 12:50 AM Comment originator.Ann Kleemeier
My husband suddenly passed away from a pulmonary embolism last year and when the hospital personnel asked if we wanted to donate his organs/tissue, I quickly answered yes. David’s tissue was donated. Honoring his wish to be a donor and knowing that he could help someone one last time brought me great comfort. I would encourage everyone to be a donor.
Friday, April 02, 2010 7:26 AM Comment originator.William Risley
I had been seeing a friend who was on dialysis for some time. She had received a kidney, donated by one of her brothers. Unfortunately, the transplant didn’t take, then she was back on dialysis. Then, a little more than 3 years ago, she suffered a stroke, and passed away on June 6, 2007.
Friday, April 02, 2010 8:28 AM Comment originator.Megan Lindsey
This timing for this article is actually perfect.

One of my best friends since high school has a sister, Becky, whose heart was ravaged by a virus a few years ago. It originally was detected 3 years ago when she had a heart attack causing her to choke on an apple in the storage room where she worked. She was alone in the storage room at the time and was not discovered for about 20 minutes, and therefore spent some time in a coma. Fortunately, she came out of it fairly healthy, no brain damage at all. However, her heart slowly deteriorated, and recently, she has spent the past 5 months in the Cleveland Clinic. She had an LVAD put in to help her failing heart pump her blood. Once she recovered from that surgery, she was allowed to be placed at back on the list for a heart.

Yesterday, we got the wonderful news that they had found a match for her! She went into surgery on Thursday morning at 3:00am for the transplant surgery. The last news I got yesterday was that she had come through the surgery well, and the doctors were optimistic. She still has a long road ahead of her, and we still pray everyday that the heart is accepted by her frail body.Any prayers for Becky would be greatly appreciated, as well as prayers for the donor’s family in their time of loss, and thanks to the donor for making the choice to give life after death.

Friday, April 02, 2010 8:46 AM Comment originator.Lynn Mayeski
When I found out my husband was dying from a massive stroke in 1999 I made the decision to donor his organs/tissue. He couldn’t speak for himself but I knew he would want to help others. A few weeks later I received a letter that because of his cornea donation two people were given the gift of sight. Tissue was donated for burn victims. I would encourage everyone to be a donor

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