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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Awareness

I've never been much of an activist. I think I attended a rally once in university in Ottawa...something about protesting tuition hikes. I left as soon as the crowds started throwing macaroni at the federal Education Minister-the same guy they had been demanding come out and speak to them for over 3 hours.
That being said I have been a quiet supporter of charities via donations and participation in a handful of community events usually for causes that have directly affected me (like Cancer or Heart & Stroke or pet adoption agencies) or are near and dear to a friend or family members heart (like MS). So its kind of funny that the first thing I am really going to step into the spotlight on relates to something that has never impacted anyone I have known.
The more I read about Kidney Disease, particularly the need for more donors, the more I want to do what I can to help. I've learned in my many years of marketing that the best way to generate awareness about something is just to get people thinking and talking about it. And while it might take a little longer, if you start with the "low hanging fruit" which are the people already engaged with you, the discussion and awareness that spreads will be more authentic and have a longer life span than trying to get your message out to a world that isn't even looking for you to be saying something.
I know that donating a kidney is a serious decision and in no way have I deluded myself that I am going to convince anyone else to do this. Its not even something everyone can do. However if I can get people more aware of the need for kidney donors and how living donation isn't as risky or crazy as it might sound, then I will be happy. Its a start and at best it may mean a donation or two "extra" to the Kidney Foundation or some random chain of events that helps someone else.
Here are some facts about transplants with an Alberta spin (think of how crazy those doctors in 1954 sounded!):
1954 First successful kidney transplant performed.
1966 First successful kidney/pancreas transplant performed.
1967 First successful liver transplant performed.
1968 First successful heart transplant performed.
         First pancreas transplant performed.
1971 First kidney transplant performed in Southern Alberta at the Foothills Provincial Hospital.
1974 First living related donor kidney transplant performed in Southern Alberta.
1983 First successful single-lung transplant performed.
The first medication for treating transplant organ rejection was introduced.
1986
First successful double-lung transplant performed.
1987 First living unrelated donor transplant performed in Southern Alberta.
1988 First successful split liver transplant performed.
1989 First successful living donor liver transplant performed.
1995 First laparoscopic nephrectomy performed on a living kidney donor.
1998 First simultaneous kidney/pancreas transplant performed in Alberta at Foothills Medical Centre.
1999 First pancreas after kidney transplant performed in Southern Alberta.
2001 First laparoscopic nephrectomy performed on a living kidney donor in Alberta at Foothills Medical Centre.

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