2.4K Virginians waiting for a life-saving organ transplant

ROANOKE, VA – Friday is National Donate Life Blue & Green Day, which is part of Donate Life America’s National Donate Life Month. People are encouraged to wear blue and green and help spread the message of registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor.

Nationwide, more than 100,000 people are waiting on different transplant lists and that number is still growing.

[Here’s how to become an organ or tissue donor]

Doctors at Carilion Clinic report about 5,000 people in the area experience advanced stages of kidney disease. By 2025, they expect the need for kidney transplants to grow by more than 25%.

Currently, those here in our area must travel two hours or more for transplant services. Then, they can expect to wait anywhere from 18 months to five years for a donor.

That’s why the Carilion Clinic has been working since January to start an adult kidney transplant program at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

“We need to bring this treatment back home to these patients. We need to bring it to their back door and make it not only convenient but accessible. Accessible care means less risk to the patient and more thorough care to the patient, leading to a better outcome,” said Transplant Surgeon David Salzberg with the Carilion Clinic.

If approved through Virginia’s Certificate of Public Need process, the Carilion kidney transplant program would be Virginia’s eighth transplant center and the only one serving western Virginia.

The program would use existing operating rooms at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, which will allow the program to ramp up quickly.

If you’re interested in becoming an organ donor, one of the easiest ways you can do so is when you renew or get your driver’s license. You can also ask your primary care doctor or register yourself. The good news is if you want to become an organ donor you can do so regardless of your age or your medical history.

About the Author

Keshia Lynn is a Multimedia Journalist for WSLS. She was born and raised in Maryland and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and Society from American University and a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.

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