One Family Gave These People the Gift of Life

Fields-Meyer, Thomas; Williams, Kelly; Morehouse, Macon
October 2004
People;10/18/2004, Vol. 62 Issue 16, p96
The article mentions how five members of the Falsey family have donated kidneys to save lives. The Falsey family's surgical crusade began back in 1990, when Rich Schurman's son Aaron, then 17, went on dialysis after years of chronic illness. Watching that deterioration got to his uncle Tom Falsey, who without being asked offered in 2001 to donate his own kidney. Falsey was not a candidate for his nephew but undeterred, he offered to donate a kidney himself and, with help from his employer, gave a few thousand dollars to create a fund to defray the cost of donor testing. Given that nearly 60,000 Americans are awaiting kidneys--and that,according to UNOS, about 6 percent of those people will die waiting--"I don't understand why more people don't step forward," says Tom Falsey. "It's a rare opportunity where you can save someone's life at virtually no risk to yourself." Though kidney donation surgery is indeed relatively safe (with a mortality rate of 3 in 10,000 and just 1 percent of donors developing complications such as infection), anonymous donation--in which someone gives a kidney to a stranger--is still at the frontier of medicine. Between 1988, when figures were first collected, and the end of July, some 64,224 living donors gave kidneys; only 228 did so anonymously. INSET: WHO CAN DONATE A KIDNEY?.


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