Written by: Lisa Burch
For many veterans, hope is what they need. Veterans that need kidney transplants now have an angel on their side. DOVE = HOPE.
Our story is like many veterans today. My husband needs a kidney transplant. We had no hope for a living donor until I was scrolling through stories on Fox News and saw an interesting story. It’s not often news brings us something to be hopeful for, so it became something I want to share with our community. Hope.
The interview was with DOVE, Donor Outreach for Veterans, the organization’s founder and Executive Director, Sharyn Kreitzer. In the interview, she discussed the reason why she started DOVE. DOVE helps veterans get matched up with Living Donors. This organization has given us HOPE.
Almost 25 years ago, my husband needed a kidney transplant. He was in renal failure. I was the only person tested, and I was a match. What a miracle! Now, his disease is back, and he needs another miracle. DOVE has given us HOPE.
Rod’s story - Rod was stationed on the Benjamin Franklin Nuclear submarine where he served in the Navy for 8 years. He worked at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Power Plant in Jenkinsville. In 1997, he became ill and after many tests, it was determined that he was in kidney failure. His choice was to be on dialysis or have a transplant. We were very blessed for me to be a match. Our surgery was at Duke Medical University, and we have been blessed by Rod with 24 years of working, camping, and seeing our granddaughter born and growing.
DOVE = HOPE.
For some veterans like Rod, it is difficult for them to “ask” for anything, much less a kidney. When a person is going through kidney failure, they lose their stamina, strength, and ability to eat. Rod is currently on dialysis, which has helped tremendously. However, he is on dialysis every night from now on. This restricts his ability to travel as he is connected to his machine every night. Peritoneal dialysis has saved his life, but DOVE = HOPE.
Sometimes, due to health issues, family members cannot donate a kidney. This is the case with Rod. Where do you find angels? Dove finds angels for our veterans.
The process is so easy. Veterans needing kidneys can go to their website: dovetransplant.org and register. Donors can also start the process at dovetransplant.org/new-donor.
Once registered, the veteran proves his/her service and meets with a Dove representative via an online meeting. The veteran’s information for his/her biography is taken. Dove then puts this information online for potential donors to view.
We met with our Dove coordinator on 6-18-23 and recently we have been told that there is a potential donor that is interested in donating a kidney to Rod. They have been referred to DUKE University Hospital to start the process. DOVE = HOPE.
Here are some staggering statistics:
3-5 year waiting list for deceased donors. Depending on your location, it is as high as 8 years.
1,600 veterans are waiting for kidney donation.
12 people die per day while waiting for a kidney donation.
Since DOVE began in 2020:
Over 600 people have been tested for donating a kidney.
32 transplants have occurred to date, and veterans have been blessed with donations.
DOVE also helps with paired exchanges. Paired exchange programs are for those donors who may not match the veteran they want to donate to. This means the donor donates to another person who needs the kidney, and the first person gets a kidney from the exchange program. By doing the paired exchange, 2 recipients benefit! DOVE will help donors go through this process as well.
Kidney donation is not always feasible. However, you can help DOVE by making a monetary contribution. DOVE pays all food, travel, and lodging for donors.
Let’s help DOVE give more HOPE!
Lisa Burch Kidney Donor