WELD believes that when it’s understood, living donation becomes a lifesaver for the 101,000 who wait on the kidney transplant list. One third of them will die waiting. They don’t have to. People not impacted by kidney failure rarely know the basics of living donation, including that it’s a low risk surgery, does not change the life of the donor, and drastically improves the life of the recipient. Many are unaware that dialysis is not a good option, that live donor kidneys are better and last longer, and the up to 10 year wait for a deceased donor kidney often means the patient does not survive. But those who’ve experienced living donation are positioned to be the first line of contact for the public on living donation and can dispel myths, while normalizing and humanizing this life saving procedure.
WELD began in San Diego but after 3 years is going national in response to women donors all over the country. We are asking for $7500 to hire a strategist to manage phase one with 4 expansion sites. Should we exceed our goal of $7500, our stretch goal is to support sites with seed money before their local fundraising begins.
Two-thirds of living kidney donors are women and 97% of them would do it again. Women dominate transplant teams as coordinators, nurses, social workers, dialysis workers, and, increasingly, as nephrologists and surgeons. But like breast cancer or depression, living donation is poorly understood. Its process, risks, and rewards need to be brought into the public conversation. It’s women who generate, understand, and can benefit from the power of a face to face community. WELD offers women of transplant a place and a platform to use their voice. Stories engage, educate, and inspire, and the women of WELD have them. Help WELD amplify its voice and take the story of living donation to your community.
For 3 years WELD has used the power of women’s words to demystify and humanize living donation from the podium, on local media, Facebook, billboards, the phone, and over coffee. No national organization like WELD exists—there’s no Gilda’s Club for living donors, no monthly meeting place, no platform or peer group other than in San Diego. Now is the time to take WELD national, giving voice to the message of WELD wherever kidney patients wait on the list—which is every major city in America. The message is simple: people do not have to die waiting for a kidney.
- Offers personal stories of living donation to the public in community-focused settings
- Invites potential living donors to ask their questions privately, by phone.
- Provides educational resources about the process and benefits of living donation
- Engages the local community through WELD activities that invite interaction with living donors and transplant professionals—run/walks, lunches, social events, craft classes
- Serves as a resource to researchers for follow-up studies, benefitting future patients
- Creates “women in the know”, who can be a resource for those around them, either patients seeking a kidney or those considering donating
Three years ago, a dozen women gathered in a backyard in San Diego with the goal of increasing interest in living kidney donation. Some had never met another donor. Within a year, the dozen grew to 20, then 30, now 46 and growing each month. Founding members, having experienced the power of women and their desire to advocate for causes close to them, bet on the fact that we could attract the surgeons, nephrologists, coordinators and social workers of living donation to partner with those who made their jobs possible, and we have. Of 46 members, 34 are living donors.
We believed 2 things: the public didn’t know much about living donation, and they wanted to hear stories about it. We were right. WELD’s PSA has been viewed by over 2,000 people, generating an average of 5 inquiries a week from patients seeking a donor and from people wanting to learn more, including how to have a WELD in their community. And now we believe a 3rd thing—every community should have a local WELD.
3 years ago, a dozen women gathered in a backyard in San Diego, united in the belief that living donation is the solution to the kidney wait list. Some had never met another donor. Within a year, the dozen grew to 20, then 30, now 42. We know stories are powerful –they engage, inform, and inspire others. WELD takes our stories to speaking engagements, the media, Facebook, billboards, on the phone, over coffee. We debunk, demystify, and humanize living donation. Now the task is to take it national, putting a WELD chapter wherever there are transplant centers doing living donation.
• Provides living donor information in a non-clinical setting
• Offers to the public peer-to-peer information and personal stories of living donors to the public in community-focused settings
• Uses factual living donation educational resources to inform of the risks and benefits of donation
• Provides potential living donors with a safe place to ask questions
• Engages the local community through WELD activities that invite interaction while providing a way for living donors to continue to contribute to the cause
• Makes available to researchers a cadre of living donors for follow-up studies
WELD has attracted members, local media, donations, and increasing, requests from donors and patients in other regions for a local WELD. Those who have donated and those who wait for transplant want a group that meets face to face, empowering members to bring living donation into the conversation in their communities.
We need funds to create WELD chapters in other cities. Specifically, we have identified a strategist to manage the expansion, make the connections with transplant communities across the country and guide us through the process. A physician and person of influence in the transplant world, she is perfectly positioned to give voice to the lifesaving power of living donors. Her work will cost $7500 for the first phase. Once established with seed money from its parent organization, WELD chapters are expected to sustain themselves within a year. Should we exceed our goal, our stretch goal is to support expansion sites before their fundraising begins. From a backyard to the national stage, WELD is a success story that has educated, inspired—and saved lives.