If your child is on the waiting list for a liver transplant, it’s important to keep an open mind when it comes to living donation. A living donor can help your child receive a transplant sooner – saving their life.
Sharing your child’s story and talking about their disease may be a challenge. How much information should you share? And, who should you talk to?
Only about 1 in 4 people evaluated for living donation are suitable candidates and can safely donate. So, it’s a good idea to talk to as many friends and family members as possible and let them know that your child needs help.
Starting the Conversation
Directly asking someone to become your child’s donor may feel uncomfortable. It’s a good idea to start by simply sharing your story with family and friends. People in your life may not fully understand that your child is sick or how serious the situation is.
When talking about living donation, be ready to answer questions about who can be a donor and what’s involved. Remember that living-liver donors must:
• Be between the ages of 18 and 55
• Be in good physical and mental health
• Have a body mass index (BMI) less than or equal to 32
• Not engage in active ongoing drug or substance abuse
• Have an unselfish desire to contribute to another person’s life in a healthy way
In addition, be in good general health and have no history of:
• Liver disease, including cirrhosis and hepatitis
• Significant diseases involving the other organs — lung, kidney, and heart
• Pulmonary hypertension
• Active malignant cancers
Always stay positive when talking to people about living donation and remember that not everyone will be able to help, so do not get discouraged when someone says no. They may be able to lend support in other ways or share your child’s story with others.
Who to Ask
There are probably people in your life who you feel more comfortable talking to about your situation than others. It’s always a good idea to start with those people so you can get used to sharing your story. You can also share your story with:
• Church members
• Friends in the community
If you are struggling to find a donor for your child, you may want to try using social media to raise awareness. Creating a Facebook page dedicated to your cause helps to broaden your network, allowing you to reach a much wider group of people.
Identifying a Living Donor Champion
While trying to find a living donor, don’t be afraid to ask for help. In addition to your caregiver, you may also want to enlist the help of a living donor Champion. A Champion is someone who takes the lead in helping you find a donor.
A Champion can help explain your situation and let people know you and your family need help. With the support of a Champion, sharing your story and finding a donor can be a much more manageable task.
Asking someone to be your living donor can be an emotional and overwhelming task. However, the person who can help may be closer than you realize. Always remember to keep an open mind, stay positive, and ask for help.