‘Success Kid’ helps fund dad’s kidney transplant
Posted: Aug 19, 2015 7:19 AM MDTUpdated: Aug 19, 2015 11:23 AM MDT
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Posted: Aug 19, 2015 7:19 AM MDTUpdated: Aug 19, 2015 11:23 AM MDT
Remember in 2009, when e-How asked us to do around 20 videos for charity car donation programs and explain the tax benefits and how to donate? http://www.ehow.com/video_4951528_donate-car-kidney-foundation.html
A local Utah videographer called us one morning and asked if the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho’s Kidney Kars program would do about 20 of the selected “Charity Car Donation” topics he’d pulled off the wire. He allowed us to do two that were specific to the Kidney Kars (Utah and Idaho www.towkars.org) and also for the National Kidney Cars program.
It’s 2014 and we are still going strong. Utah and Idaho has been very generous to Kidney Kars and we continue to receive about 5,000 Kidney Kars donations a year. If you want to make your car a Kidney Kar, a car that saves lives call us at (801) 226-5111 or go online www.towkars.org Towing is always free, and Kidney Kars donations make great tax deductions!
It really is December. It’s that time of year again. If you’re smart, instead of spending a ton of money this month consider saving a lot of money this month on you taxes by donating your car to the Kidney Kars program (National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho).
When you donate locally in Utah & Idaho you get a better tax deduction, free towing and the donation stays in our state to benefit local kidney dialysis and transplant patients.
So keep your Kidney Kars donation local and donate online at www.towkars.org or call us at 1-800-tow-Kars.
Last Night we were invited to Kirton McConkie’s 50th Birthday/Anniversary. Since 1991 the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho and the Kidney Kars program has been on the receiving end of many of KMC Law’s charitable donations, use of their facilities for board meetings, and pro-bono (tax, trademark/copywright, contract writing work). They’ve even sent a litigator to small claims to help us address an abuse of process claim brought to the foundation by a local towing company in 2004. Kirton McConkie’s past President, the late Graham Dodd, Esq. was also the president of the NKF of U & I’s Board of Directors for the 3 years prior to his untimely passing. I personally loved Graham for his orange and green checkered wool golf knickers and the title ESQ. which he wore without the slightest irony, because that gentleman was the real deal. We were very lucky to have his guidance and presence for so many years as we were becoming established as one of Utahs most recognizable non-profit organizations.
So yesterday, I arrived at the 4th floor of the Kirton McConkie building ready to mix and mingle. The name tags were laid out on the welcome table and featured a hit list of Utah’s most powerful, smartest, most philanthropic people. I was very lucky to get Pamela Atkinson all to myself for a minute. She’s clearly one of Utah’s foremost philanthropists and the woman for whom several Utah clinics for the less fortunate are rightfully named in her honor. When I introduced myself, and she looked at my name tag she said “Oh yes, I know you ‘ www.towKars.org ‘Kidney Kars’ with a K like kidney. You’re quite well known.” As Director of the Kidney Kars donation program since 1991, as a marketer and a human– I was really, truly flattered. Whilst Ms. Atkinson administered the Intermountain Health Care Foundation grants, the Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho was fortunate enough to receive several grants. Those substantive funding helped us fund Youth Transplant Kamp, our Kidney Patient Financial Aid services, start what is now known as KARE (Kidney Assessment Renal Evaluation) which are free community kidney screenings for Utahns at highest risk of kidney failure.
I was able to visit our board members Jason Beutler (the fine young litigator fresh out of UC Berkeley Law school sent by KMC Law to save us in a ridiculous small claims proceedings) and who is now a trusted NKF U & I board member and friend; as well as Doug Wright (KSL Newradio) also a board member and friend. The view from the KMC Law firm building is beautiful, the catering was magnificent, and the signature Kirton McConkie mocktail ‘cosmo’ and celebratory cookies were yummy. But most of all, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the association and support of such an upstanding firm and to be surrounded by men of integrity and charity. We are very grateful Kirton McConkie Law is celebrating 50 years in Utah! They are truly some Utah’s finest .
Just for fun today, I counted up the number of car donations and the amount of money that I personally have helped the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho raise through the Kidney Kars donation program ( www.towkars.org) . I started the Kidney Kars program the first year I came to the NKF of U & I and the same year I graduated college in 1991. It was one of the first 5 charity car donation programs in the entire country. I asked my best friend, Simeen Brown, an illustration art major (at the time) to create the artwork for the ads. She helped me come up with the 1-800-tow-Kars phone number. I started by putting a free ads and flyers in the Provo, American Fork, Bountiful, Farmington, Ogden and Salt Lake City Utility Bills and city newsletters. Later Zion’s, First Interstate Bank, and Wells Fargo agreed to put our Kidney Cars flyers into customer statements. These efforts reached over 1,000,000 Utahns and pretty soon the phones were ringing off the hook. Previous to the Kidney Kars car donation program YOU had to pay someone to come take your old car away. So, in two states like Utah and Idaho, famously frugal, financially literate, fiscally conservatives– the idea of free towing coupled with the tax deduction went over like wildfire.
So there I was, a young fresh faced girl, just 23 year old and barely out of college hoping to change the world by towing away junk cars. I drove my 1981 silver VW Diesel Rabbit to visit and contract with every wrecking yard in every corner of Utah and Idaho. I put over 20,000 miles on the rabbit that year, and then donated the next year to Kidney Kars with about 285,000 miles on it. (I replaced the rabbit with a 1990 VW Golf GTI). In an industry (towing, wrecking yards, scrap metal) where integrity, charity, and ‘environmentally friendly’ were laughable ideas, I somehow talked them into PAYING US– the Kidney Foundation– for a steady stream of donated cars (and to tow them away for FREE). I cut contracts with agencies whose ‘service center’ consisted of guys shirtless under their overalls, missing teeth, chewing a toothpick with a vacant look in their eyes. With the money I got them to pay us for those car donations, the NKF of U & I was able to fund the first life saving financial aid/patient services programs and began funding local medical research. It was a miracle. At the time, the price of scrap metal was $30 a ton (today it’s more in the $225-350 range). So we were getting between $30-$75 just for junk cars. The third year of operation, a doctor from Sandy, Utah donated a 1963 Mercedes 250 SL convertible with red leather interior and white wall tires. We got England Trucking to haul the car down to the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale for free. The auction donated the sales space and fees. We made $17,600. This single-handedly funded two years of the Kidney Patient Educational Scholarship program (for young adult/ pediatric Kidney Transplant recipients).
It’s weird how I got my motivation and experience to make money for charity by selling used cars. I grew up in East County Southern California with a dad who LOVED cars– Baja bugs, dune buggies, and race cars. He was fond of German engineering and diesel engines. Our garage was bigger than our house and it’s where he spent most of his time. We had no less than 8-10 running cars at any given time. It was my job to change oil, make sure there was water in the battery caps, that the cables were connected, the idle adjusted, and that there was correct air pressure in the tires. I also washed and detailed (vacuumed under seats and shook rugs, Amour All-ed the seats/dash/tires, Windex-ed the windows inside and out, chamois dried the body, and then hand waxed) at least 3 cars every Saturday before I could even THINK about asking to do something fun. But not until I’d assisted my dad further (usually overhauling an engine or transmission) by cleaning his car parts in an open pan of gasoline, and then using a wire brush to scratch off the oily gunk. I got $4.00 per car per full detail, plus a little extra for the garage assist. Today, a detail job like that will run you $60.00 a car.
My favorite cars were my Dad’s Diesel Mercedes 250D, a Porsche 911 and a Porsche 935 (a Candy Apple red, Turbo Carrerra). My Dad is dead now, so I can say this out loud. But one night when he was away (during a full moon) I drove the red Porsche East on Highway 8 through the Ocatillo Desert and the Imperial Valley. That car easily traveled at 120 mph without even engaging the turbo. It was an amazing machine. But, in spite owning an extra Porsche, I was given a 1967 pieced out VW Bug to drive. It had 3 different colored quarter panels. “Pretty girl, Ugly car” is what my Dad always said. We lived on 5 acres of dusty granite with a few horses, and a LOT of cars. That’s how it was.
My first taste of fundraising was at BYU (Provo, Utah). I started the first on campus Woman’s Rights group “Voice”– which I had to help keep funded to keep it alive. Additionally, I worked in the library as a research/reference assistant and helped professors get their grants so I could have a job. After college, a good friend told me his Mother (CEO, Deen Vetterli) was trying to start a fundraising program selling donated used cars. It was the perfect segway between my experience in grant writing and fundraising and a history of working on old cars and being comfortable haggling prices with wrecking yards. By starting the Kidney Kars program, I imagined every wife and daughter in America (whose husband or dad had 8 cars parked around the house) breathing a collective deep sigh of relief. Finally! A tax deduction and free towing as an incentive to get rid of all those cars parked out back. In fact one of the first huge car donation projects publicized on all the news channels, was when a 80 year old retired car dealer in Sunset Utah was given a notice by the city to get rid of his rotting inventory parked out back. He had 40 cars on his property and no way to get rid of them ( http://www.deseretnews.com/article/624713/Foundation-hits-gold-40-old-cars-in-the-mud.html?pg=all). It was huge and together with all the community and municipal support and the Governor’s appointment of the Kidney Kars program to the “Take Pride in Utah” (Utah’s Statehood Centennial Celebration) Kidney Cars and Kidney Kars hit pay dirt and kept on rolling along.
So many generous people have given us their Kidney Car/ Kidney Kars charity car donation in Utah and Idaho. Many, many people repeated their car donations time and again (up to 5 donations in 10 years) just for the tax deduction and the free towing. Even with the changes in the tax law that limits the amount that can be claimed on their taxes, and even the Cash For Clunkers incentive– Utahns and Idahoans have continued to generously give the Kidney Foundation their ‘Kidney Kars’ charity car donations. Such generous, decent people in Utah and Idaho. I pledge allegiance to Utah for giving my weird skill set a purpose and my deepest car related neurosis a therapeutic outlet.
I have personally overseen every single aspect of the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho’s Kidney Kars / Kidney Cars donation program (1-800-Tow-Kars and the development of www.towKars.org). I am proud to say, we have received and sold more than 92,000 vehicle donations and raised over $20,000,000 dollars on behalf of Utah and Idaho Kidney Patients.
Kidney disease and dialysis are so miserable for so many people. I have made and lost so many friends to Kidney Failure since 1991. How can I thank the Kidney Foundation enough for giving me a meaningful little place in the world to help save lives and help lighten the burden and improve the quality of life for Utah and Idaho Kidney patients?
I can personally assure you that your Kidney Cars/Kidney Kars donation in Utah and Idaho is put to amazing good use locally.
Luz Lewis Perez
I had your 8th grade health class last year and heard the Kids and Kidneys presentation.
You’re probably wondering why I am emailing you out of the blue. It’s not to see if you remember ME out of thousands of students but rather, I just thought you might be interested to know that your class has changed my life, and hopefully is about to change someone else’s. Ever since your Kidney Organ Donation activity I have been so interested in Organ Donation and have always wanted to be able to donate.
When I was younger I thought the only way was to hope that donation after death would be a possibility for me. As I got older, I realized living donation is something I would be willing to do for someone I loved. I secretly wanted to know someone, who knew someone that needed a donation. Earlier this year, I realized that I do not need to wait for someone I know to become sick, as I researched ‘Good Samaritan’ donors.
I have now “applied” for Good Samaritan donation through YES Utah. I have undergone a medical history evaluation for living kidney donation to a person in need. I have my first testing appointment today, and will continue to test to find a match. I’m am beyond excited for this. To be able to improve someone’s quality of life like this would be a dream come true. My fingers are crossed that I will for sure be able to be a donor, without problems.
I just wanted to let you know that without your class I would have not considered this to the extent it took. I wouldn’t have been nearly as interested, and it wouldn’t have been something I always think about. Thank you for your inspiration.
https://twitter.com/UofUHealthCare #Transplant #uofuKT #livingdonor #donatelife
SALT LAKE CITY — Deannie Wimmer interviews the surgical director of living donor at the University Hospital about the decision to live tweet a kidney transplant.
“It’s good to educate people that live donation for kidney transplant is very safe,” said Dr. Jeff Campsen. “And if we can show that this is something that we can do routinely and we do well and we do safely, and they can follow the exact steps of that, it’s a good way to educate people in Utah on how we do this.”
Campsen also talks about the the thousands of people nationwide who are waiting for a kidney transplant and the impact of a live transplant donation.
Click the video above to watch the full interview.
Read more at http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=29977199#r0u6zHOoFYzPlCmK.99
Need a haircut in American Fork this Saturday?
When: Saturday April 26th from 5-9 pm
Where: Relik Salon and Spa, 61 W Main Street American Fork Utah
What: Relik Salon in American Fork is holding a cut-a-thon.
Why: ‘Free’ haircuts “With Donation.” All funds will be given to a local family struggling paying back medical debt after a kidney transplant.
Contact Mallory: firstname.lastname@example.org / 801-372-2973
The Living Kidney Donation Program
Both adults and children suffer from kidney failure and are now, or will soon be, in need of a transplant. People in need have been receiving transplants from family and friends and from deceased donors for many years, but there aren’t enough kidneys to help everyone. In order to increase the kidneys available for transplant and to lessen the suffering of those waiting, Intermountain Donor Services (IDS) and the area’s transplant centers have formed the Living Kidney Donation Program to increase the number of kidneys available for transplant.
Good Samaritan Living Kidney Donation
Good Samaritan donors are living donors who do not know the recipient, but make their donation purely out of selfless motives. This type of donation is also referred to as anonymous or non-directed donation. Recipients are those at the top of the local wait list.
Kidney Paired Donation
A paired donation consists of two donors who are incompatible with their intended recipients. The two recipients swap donors so that each can receive a compatible kidney. Once the evaluations of all donors and recipients are completed, the two donations and transplants are scheduled simultaneously.
Kidney List donation
Kidney list donation can result when a live donor is incompatible with the intended recipient, and so donates to the wait list. In return, the intended recipient receives priority and advances on the wait list, receiving a kidney much more quickly; often the next available appropriate kidney.
How do I know if I can be a living donor?
Any healthy individual who has two kidneys and who is between the ages of 21 and 65 can potentially donate one kidney. In order to determine elegibility, a person must undergo a health evaluation and counseling. A medical history, physical examination, and a number of blood and urine tests are performed to determine health. Blood type, which must be compatible with that of the recipient, is also determined. Counseling is provided to ensure that every person considering kidney donation understands the surgery, the risks involved, and the recovery period.
Can I live with one kidney?
Almost everyone is born with two kidneys. After donating a kidney, a person can live a normal, long and healthy life. The remaining kidney grows bigger and simply takes over for both kidneys.
What are the risks?
No surgery is without risk. However, living kidney donation is very safe for healthy individuals. Nearly fifty years of research show that kidney donors have a normal life expectancy and lead normal lives. Extensive testing is done to ensure that kidney donation carries a minimal risk for potential donors. Some of the possible risks associated with any surgery are:
The risk of dying from any surgical complication is extremely small (perhaps two in 10,000). All potential donors will have the opportunity to discuss these risks with the surgical team performing the operation.
Donating a kidney does not increase the risk of future health problems or decrease life expectancy. However, every living donor should be aware that if something happens to the one remaining kidney, such as a severe traumatic injury or cancer, then kidney function could be compromised.
How long will the surgery take?
Typically, the preparation and the surgery itself take four to six hours. After recovering from anesthesia, donors can go to their hospital rooms. Although every donor is different, recovery should be uneventful. Feeling tired is an expected reaction to the surgery and anesthetic. There is pain lasting from a few days to several weeks as the muscles around the incision heal. Pain medications are prescribed and taken as necessary. The discomfort gradually decreases as the incision heals and physical activity is resumed.
Time and resources
It is common to take two to six weeks off from work to recover from surgery. IDS and the transplant programs provide no compensation for this time lost. Potential donors should contact their employers to see if paid leave would be provided for this absence.
Who pays for the donor’s medical evaluation, surgery, hospitalization and follow-up care?
Medicare or the recipient’s insurance pays for all medical costs for the donor’s medical evaluation, surgery, hospitalization, anesthesia, doctor’s fees, and follow-up care. However, all other costs, such as transportation and time lost from work, are not typically reimbursed.
Why living donation?
Patients who need kidney transplants have always been encouraged to find their living donors, usually a relative or close friend. The success rate is better and the waiting time is shorter than for cadaver kidneys (kidneys from people who have died). However, due to medical, personal or matching issues, sometimes it is not possible for family or friends to donate. There is often a long waiting time and ultimately not enough cadaver kidneys to provide for everyone in need. Living Kidney donation increases the number of kidneys available to those waiting for transplants. With enough Living Kidney donors, the waiting list for kidney transplants could be completely eliminated.
For more information on kidney donation, please contact us at
Kidney Disease kills more people each year than breast and prostate cancer combined. Yes, you read that statistic correctly, but you may be surprised by it. While the majority of Americans can recite the common tests for breast and prostate cancer, not many know very much about kidney disease, including its risk factors and the tests for detecting it. March is National Kidney Month and March 13 is World Kidney Day. In honor of these observances, show your kidneys some love by learning more about these sophisticated organs and what you can do to keep yours healthy.
So let’s start by getting back to basics, breaking down the who, what, where, when and how when it comes to the kidneys.
The Who: Who needs to be concerned about the kidneys and kidney disease? In an ideal world, everyone would have their kidneys on their radar, but the one in three American adults at risk for kidney disease definitely should be concerned about their kidneys. Those who fall in this category include people with the major risk factors for kidney disease: high blood pressure, diabetes, family history of kidney failure and being over age 60. Even if you aren’t at high risk for kidney disease, everyone can benefit from learning more about the kidneys and keeping them healthy.
The What: The kidneys! Consider this the extremely abridged version of Kidney 101. Most people are born with two kidneys, but you only need one. The kidneys filter 200 liters of blood every single day, keeping the blood minerals in balance by removing toxins, wastes and water. This is the job the kidneys are most known for, but did you know that the kidneys have many other responsibilities? The kidneys also help regulate blood pressure, regulate fluid levels, control the production of red blood cells, and activate vitamin D for strong, healthy bones. When the kidneys fail, people must go on dialysis or receive a kidney transplant to survive. Unlike most other organs, because you only need one kidney, one of your kidneys can be donated while still living.
The Where: Where are these kidneys located after all? The kidneys are situated in your lower back just below the rib cage. They are the size of your fist and weigh about five ounces.
The When: If you’re at risk for kidney disease, it’s important to get your kidneys checked during your annual physical. The National Kidney Foundation’s mascot, Sidney the Kidney, even has a music video to help inspire you to get tested. Be sure to speak up and request these two simple tests to check for kidney disease:
The How: Testing and prevention go hand-in-hand and knowing how to keep your kidneys healthy is an important element of preventing kidney disease. Following a healthy lifestyle is key to keeping the kidneys healthy! This includes exercising regularly, eating healthy foods and avoiding consuming high levels of salt and sodium, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting (or never even starting) smoking, controlling high blood pressure and diabetes and only taking pain medications as prescribed on the label — for the shortest amount of time possible, at the lowest effective dose.
For more information about the kidneys and kidney disease, visit the National Kidney Foundation’s website at www.kidney.org.
Did you know that high blood pressure and diabetes are two of the main risk factors for kidney disease? If you have either of these, what are you doing to protect your kidneys? Share in the comments below. Happy National Kidney Month!
Follow Leslie Spry, M.D., FACP on Twitter: www.twitter.com/spryguymd