An Open Letter to Save
I am Raymond Dukes and I need a kidney to live. As a US Postal Service Collections Carrier, I am physically active at work but it’s a struggle. My wife Cheryl and I have been married for 19 years and we have an adult son Corey who lives about 2-1/2 hours away. Unfortunately, Cheryl and Corey are medically disqualified to donate a kidney for me.
As USPS employee, I drive a 2-ton truck making package collections on a business route in Durham, NC. I pick up medical packages for veterans at the VA hospital, letters at the Social Security Administration, parcels at Best Buy, and packages at other businesses.
In the past, I’ve stopped on the road to help motorists who appeared to have broken down. I have helped by changing a tire or two for people along the side of the road. I am just a regular guy helping others when I can.
On occasion I attend church but I certainly don’t run the place. My interests include a little travel anywhere I can drive to in my car. In the past, we’ve traveled to Disney in Florida, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head and Maryland to visit family, friends and my first kidney donor, Heidi.
What Happened to Me
In 2007 I was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a rare disease that affects the filters in my kidneys. When those filters are scarred, they are unable to filter my blood, which can lead to kidney damage and failure, as in my case.
Luckily, I was able to find Heidi, an incredibly generous person who donated a kidney for me in 2010. My transplanted kidney gave me life for the past 12 years. Unfortunately, I need a second transplant now due to subsequent complications.
Any Blood Type
I am registered and approved for transplant at University of North Carolina Medical Center, a top medical center affiliated with the National Kidney Registry (NKR). Through the NKR, interested persons can donate a kidney on my behalf at a scheduled time at any of almost 100 NKR U.S. hospitals (called “remote donation”). A donor with any blood type can donate and I will receive a kidney matching my particular medical profile from a pool of donors whose own recipients don’t match their donors (called “voucher” donation).
Also, if you know a person with my specific blood type “O” who might entertain the idea of becoming a kidney donor for me, please contact Amy Woodard, Living Donor Coordinator at North Carolina Medical Center, 984-974-7568, amy.woodard@UNCHealth.UNC.edu.
How a Kidney Transplant will Change My Life
A kidney transplant will enable me to do my job for the Postal Service and to spend quality time with my family. Eventually I’d like to be able to get out for some visits away from home which I cannot do now. A kidney transplant would also help me feel better, live longer, improve my health and energy and have a better quality of life. A kidney transplant would allow me to live the life I was living before my kidney disease.
Persons interested in speaking with a living donor about donating on my behalf can reach out via https://www.nkdo.org/considering-kidney-donation.
Persons interested in speaking with a living person about donating on my behalf can reach out via https://www.nkdo.org/considering-kidney-donation.
Kidney Donation Basics
A kidney transplant will restore my health and will allow me to live a normal life again. A kidney transplant will enable me to live a long healthy life and continue helping others.
Most people have two healthy kidneys but can live a normal active life with only one. For that reason, kidney transplants have become routine in saving lives of people with kidney disease. Kidney donors typically spend two days in the hospital and soon resume normal activities.
About Kidney Donation
You do not need to be a match in order to donate a kidney for me. In fact, a direct donation likely would not be an optimal match for me. But, if you are healthy and eligible to donate, you could donate a kidney that would go to another person for whom you are a better match while giving me a “voucher” for a living kidney to be donated by someone else whose kidney would be a better match me (like a trade that benefits two or more kidney patients – each patient would receive a more optimally matched kidney). The National Kidney Registry has facilitated more than 5,000 such matching transplants.
Your voucher would be activated upon your donation. I would be prioritized to receive a living kidney in an upcoming transplant chain, typically within twelve weeks after your donation.
And, since each voucher donor starts a unique “kidney transplant chain,” I would receive a well-matched kidney, and your kidney would initiate a linked chain of compatible best-matching kidney transplants enabling two or three additional kidney patients to receive their own kidney transplants. You can read more about voucher donation here: https://www.kidneyregistry.org/for-centers/voucher-program/
For convenience you could donate near your home at one of about 100 kidney transplant centers nationwide affiliated with the National Kidney Registry. To find a transplant center near you, see this list: https://www.kidneytransplantcenters.org/
And, as a voucher donor, you would be entitled to the Donor Shield suite of protections not available elsewhere. Those protections are described here: https://www.donor-shield.org/
I am working with the National Kidney Donation Organization to find a donor (NKDO is a not-for-profit organization assisting kidney donors and recipients, online at NKDO.org). To talk with a living kidney donor, please contact EJ Tamez at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would consider becoming a donor to save my life and the lives of others, please visit: https://nkr.donorscreen.org/register/now?src=nkdo
You Can Help Me Just by Sharing My Story
Even if you don't want to be or cannot be a kidney donor, you probably know someone who might be interested. You can help me by sharing my story on social media and by email.
Just by sharing my story you will help to save my life. Sharing would be like throwing a life preserver into the water to save me from drowning.
Sharing the link for this webpage is the same thing. The more people who know of my need, the better my chance to reach a person willing to save my life by being a kidney donor.
Reasonable cost reimbursement is legal. Title III of The National Organ Transplant Act, 1984, Pub. L. 998-507, allows for reasonable payments associated with the removal, transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control, and storage of human organs as well as the expenses of travel, housing, and lost wages incurred by the donor of a human organ in connection with the donation of that organ. While reimbursement of expenses is legal, payment for the acquisition of an organ is not. In addition, the kidney recipient’s medical insurance usually covers the donor’s and the recipient’s costs of medical care and hospitalization.
Donors donating through the National Kidney Registry as Non-Directed Donors receive Donor Shield Protections. To learn about Donor Shield Protections please watch: https://youtu.be/MIXMp4PymMI and read https://www.donor-shield.org/ .
The National Kidney Registry (NKR) offers Donor Shield protections to all donors who participate in an NKR swap or donate at a Donor Shield Center. Those protections include:
Lost Wage Reimbursement
Travel and Lodging Reimbursement
Donation Life Insurance
Donation Disability Insurance
Coverage for Uncovered Complications
Reimbursement for Travel, Lodging and Lost Wages for Uncovered Complications
Living Donor Kidney Prioritization if they ever need a kidney themselves.
Read about Financial and Insurance Issues at https://www.kidney.org/transplantation/livingdonors/financial-insurance-issues.