Each year over 100,000 Americans are diagnosed with a condition that will require a kidney. There are currently 105,000 Americans in immediate need of a kidney and 500,000 on dialysis. Approximately 60% of them will need a transplant. Despite recent medical advances such as Kidney Paired Donation, and successful deceased donor registration campaigns, these numbers resist improvement. There are several understandable factors which mitigate these successes, but that is no comfort for the families of the over 5,000 Americans who died, unnecessarily, in 2016 because they could not find a kidney. Additionally, in many circumstances, these numbers do not reflect the challenges of underserved communities -- African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans -- all of which are disproportionately more likely to need a transplant but less likely to be referred to a transplant center. In fact, tens of thousands of patients medically suitable for transplants never make it to the waiting list. The most recent data show that once on the list, African Americans wait forty percent longer to receive a kidney than whites do, and Hispanic candidates wait fifty percent longer.fTransplantation is medically acknowledged to be the preferred treatment, offering longer lifespans, fewer complications and a higher quality of life, at much lower expense. Currently, there are not enough kidneys available for transplant.
There has been great progress, and yet, it is clear that we need to identify greater opportunities in order to meet the stubborn challenge of kidney disease in this country. Last year there were a total of 161 altruistic donors (people who did not know the person they were giving to) out of 55 million Americans who are capable of giving. Herein is the opportunity to eliminate the long and often hopeless wait for a kidney for thousands of Americans. Kidneys In Common, Inc. exists to assist ESRD patients by helping some of those 55 million Americans fully and safely consider altruistic kidney donation. Even the slightest percentage increase in living kidney donation would eliminate the waiting list for a kidney and greatly lessen reliance upon dialysis.
In order to make this happen there needs to be a reliable, transparent source of information for would-be donors, apart from transplant centers or registries -- which often benefit financially from committed donors. In addition to transparent information, there needs to be unbiased guidance for those who wish to act on this information. By supporting a new national dialogue on the importance of Living Kidney Donation, along with the development of Community Directed Living Kidney Donation, Kidneys in Common intends to increase the number living kidneys available for transplant.