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Curious about becoming a Kidney Donor? Or donating a Kidney Kar/Car in Utah or Idaho for a tax deduction?

    Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

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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:

Blood clotting
Reactions to anesthesia

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. 


Life-long considerations

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


Becoming a Living Kidney Donor

Step 1: Review all the material about living kidney donation found at this website.

Step 2: Contact IDS byemail or phone (801-521-1755) to express interest in kidney donation.

Step 3: Complete and return a medical/social history form. Once the form has been returned to IDS, you will be asked to meet with a donation coordinator to discuss the process of donation in more detail.

Step 4: After making the decision to donate a kidney, you will be referred to one of the area’s transplant centers, LDS Hospital or University of Utah Hospital, for a thorough evaluation.

Step 5: Medical and psychological evaluations will be completed, and you will be matched with a recipient. Your donor surgery and the transplant will be scheduled at time appropriate to both you and the recipie


March Is National Kidney Month: Let’s Get Back to Basics

    Wednesday, March 5th, 2014


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:

  • A urine test for albumin, a type of protein. Protein in the urine is one of the earliest signs of kidney damage. When there is too much protein in the urine, it means that the kidneys’ filters have been damaged and are starting to leak protein.
  • A blood test for creatinine. Creatinine is a waste product (from muscle metabolism) that is removed by the kidney. Creatinine level is used to calculate your estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). The eGFR reflects how well the kidneys are filtering wastes from the blood.

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

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:

Sydney the Kidney Gearing up for March is Kidney Month.

    Wednesday, February 26th, 2014



sydney the kidney

Realtor organizes Christmas gifts for 193 sick Utah kids

    Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

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Jimmy Rex provides Christmas to kids 2013

Jimmy Rex provides Christmas to kids 2013

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OREM — Realtor Jimmy Rex has a goal sheet that is nothing short of miraculous should he achieve them all — taking a trip to outer space, making a hole in one, saving a life, having a pet penguin, becoming a seminary teacher. The list is extensive.

Rex is achieving something on the extraordinary list that is putting the miracle of Christmas back in the holiday for many children in Utah – by beginning and establishing a charitable foundation.

With $31,000 raised from a silent auction, he and the Rex Realty Team delivered gifts for 193 children and, through a children’s wish foundation, sent a family of nine to Disneyland.

Rex calls it a team, but that team is more like an army, with 150 volunteers striving to do good for kids in the community.

The third year he has organized a charity auction, Rex said this has been their biggest year ever.

“We did a Sub for Santa event this year. This is the third year we did it, and we were able to donate gifts to 193 different kids,” Rex said.

To raise the funding, the Rex Realty Team hosted a silent auction event at the Jump Gym in Orem.

“We had about a 143 people from around the community donate something that we auctioned off,” he said.

The first year, they were hoping to raise $2,000 to $3,000 for Santa. The 2011 event was a date auction with 12 to 15 women and 12 to 15 men auctioning themselves with the date event prepaid for the bidder.

“We had no idea. We ended up raising $9,000 or $10,000. We were just shocked at how well it went,” Rex said.

The following year was bigger and better, with big names like BYU athletes Cody Hoffman and Brandon Davies. They raised nearly double the total from the first year.

“The reason why we switched it was because I didn’t think we could do better than we did last year,” he said.

Instead, they had a silent auction for a house in Detroit, a timeshare for a houseboat, Blentec blenders, BYU items, spa treatments, firearms and more.

“We had 140 items total, we had kayaks …” he said and then heaved a big sigh. Rex had teams of his army shopping in shifts for kids. Volunteers were also there for wrapping and delivering the presents.

“We really have involved a lot of people. Total man hours, I don’t even want to know,” he said sounding exhausted.

“Just so many people helped. Just one after another stepped up to help out,” he said.

They meet all the families and try to find families that don’t normally ask for help during the holidays but could use it. They also find families that have had a family member diagnosed with cancer recently. This year there are seven of those.

There are also children at the University of Utah Hospital waiting for a kidney transplant that benefit from the Rex Realty Team. The team delivered gifts to the children Monday.

It’s the end result, the joy and the surprise seen on a child’s face that is important to Rex.

“To see that side of it that is what inspires you to want to do it again,” Rex said. “You watch the effect it actually has when they get their presents and the people who really need it, makes it pretty easy to do.”

And while the foundation isn’t registered yet as a 401, there is a side benefit for the Realtor that keeps him going towards that goal.

“As a single guy, it’s easy to feel sorry for yourself around this time of year. It’s just a good way to lose yourself and help other people,” he said.Utah Realtor gives Christmas to sick Utah kids.

Creating a functioning kidney from a 3D printer; Science Fiction or Reality?

    Friday, October 4th, 2013

staying healthy logo

Science Fiction or Reality?  NKF, Staying Healthy Blog

By Dr. Stephen Pastan

Some tiny first steps have been taken in the futuristic drive to create organs “in a test tube”. Scientists in San Diego have use 3D printing techniques to create small conglomerates of cells that form structures resembling liver tissue, and perform some of the biologic functions of livers. These preliminary results were presented at the Experimental Biology meetings this year in Boston.

There have also been news reports that scientists in China have used similar techniques to print a rudimentary kidney, but little is known about the function of these tissue-like conglomerations, and published details are still to come. (See In a similar vein, scientists at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have created a human “lung on a chip”. These little devices mimic many behaviors of the lung including breathing (see the video here). A recent report by the Harvard researchers published in Science Translational Medicine last year describes using the chip to study toxin-induced pulmonary edema (leaky lungs which fill up with fluid).

Indeed it is likely that the future practical uses of these tiny liver-, kidney- and lung-mimicking collections of cells is to study the effects of damaging substances, such as chemicals, drugs, toxins and radiation.  Tests run on artificially generated organs may be more efficient than those employing animals or human subjects. Whether these technologies could ever create an organ that can be used to replace a human liver, kidney or lung remains a distant future wish; in my opinion that is likely to be decades away, even if “printing organs” proves to be a viable technology. Stay tuned.

Dr. Stephen Pastan is a member of the National Kidney Foundation’s Board of Directors. He is also Medical Director of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.


Shining the Light on Kidney Disease, by Dr. Spry

    Monday, September 9th, 2013

As a long-time practicing physician, I am well-versed on the perils of kidney disease — both academically and anecdotally — so anytime I come across new research urging people to pay attention to the kidneys and kidney disease, I feel compelled to spread the word. Most people know very little about kidney disease, and it’s time for a light bulb moment (and not just a flicker), especially in light of new research that just came out in the National Kidney Foundation’s American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

The American Journal of Kidney Diseases report found that the lifetime risk of moderate — or worse — kidney disease was 59 percent, a risk that outstrips invasive cancer or diabetes. Talk about an eye-opener. As a result of this new research, the National Kidney Foundation recommended that all Americans over 60 should be screened as part of an annual physical. Around the same time this research came out, another group estimated that the government’s tab for treating kidney disease was close to $60 billion. No, that “b” wasn’t a typo.

Taken together, these separate announcements about the scope of kidney disease represent a clarion call to action: We, as a society, need to take kidney disease — which kills more Americans than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined — seriously, or the human and financial costs may become unbearable.

Kidney disease isn’t a hot topic. It’s hard to see and “feel,” particularly at the early stages, and it tends to prey on those whose health is already vulnerable, such as those with diabetes or high blood pressure and seniors. Some even chalk kidney disease up to “an inevitable part of aging” and just ignore it. But that is a naïve and dangerous view.

Kidney disease is significantly underdiagnosed. Screening is cheap, simple and non-invasive: A doctor only needs to perform a quick urine test for excess protein (albuminuria). Usually invisible to the human eye, too much protein in the urine is one of the earliest signs of kidney damage. Unlike colonoscopies or other expensive (and invasive) health screening tests, on average this lifesaving urine test costs less than a tank of gas, but despite its low cost, there’s a widespread lack of testing, even for those at greatest risk. The earlier kidney disease is recognized, the easier it is to treat. Sometimes, simple lifestyle interventions are even enough to keep the disease from progressing.

The kidney is an incredible organ. Kidneys process waste in the bloodstream, produce key hormones and help the body regulate everything from blood pressure (by controlling sodium levels) to muscle-building (by controlling protein absorption). The kidneys wear many hats and unfortunately many people take them for granted until they aren’t working properly. Risk for kidney disease can be reduced by properly managing conditions that damage the kidneys — such as high blood pressure and diabetes, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding medications that can harm the kidneys. Once the kidneys are damaged, they begin to work less effectively, and eventually if the kidneys fail, treatment requires a transplant or dialysis. Kidney disease also puts patients at increased risk of heart disease.

But ignoring the kidneys, or assuming that there’s nothing that can be done to prevent kidney disease and its progression, fails not only patients who already have the disease, but everyone else at risk. Kidney disease is not a tragic, untreatable disease. We have many tools at our fingertips to combat it, from dietary interventions to improved treatment of high blood pressure and diabetes. But we can’t use those tools if we don’t know who has suffered kidney damage. One easy way to find out is by speaking up and encouraging your primary care provider to perform this simple urine test for albuminuria. Take this handy kidney checklist with you on your next doctor’s visit and share it with your friends and family.

If you’re over 60, or if you have a family history of kidney failure, diabetes or heart disease, please get screened for protein in your urine during your next annual physical. And don’t stop there. Reduce your risk by controlling blood pressure and blood sugar, maintaining proper weight, stopping smoking, exercising regularly and avoiding excessive use of medications that can harm the kidneys, such as ibuprofen and naproxen.

Widespread awareness is not built overnight (after all, it took Thomas Edison some time to distribute electricity) but let’s at least start by turning on our own lights. Because unlike the fictitious monster under your bed, when it comes to your kidney health, sometimes what you can’t see can hurt you.

Have questions about this research or the new recommendations? Just ask in the comment section below.

For more from Leslie Spry, M.D., FACP, click here.

For more on personal health, click here.

Follow Leslie Spry, M.D., FACP on Twitter:

Thank you National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho

    Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Monday, July 8, 2013
Dear National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho.
Recently, I applied for and received a financial emergency donation grant from the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho. It was applied to my mortgage payment at a time when it was severely needed. I don’t know what I would’ve done without your help. My only income is Social Security & Retirement, and when I require additional medications or hospital stays it does not cover all our expenses! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this donation/grant. I was able to catch up on some medical bills. I really appreciate all the NKF of Utah & Idaho does for kidney patients, with help like this, all the information you provide on kidney disease, etc.
R. Rudolph

Happy 4th of July!

    Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

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If you buy a new car over the weekend, donate your old one to Kidney Kars !

• Tax Deductible

•Free Towing

• Benefits over 3,000 Utah & Idaho Kidney dialysis and transplant patients or 1-800-Tow-Kars

When you donate your car to National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho’s Kidney Kars car donation program, this is who you are helping:

    Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Dear Kidney Foundation,

I will be forever thankful for the financial aid grant I received from the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho this week. I literally have no idea what would have happened if I hadn’t received the grant to pay my debt to the gas company. I could not have survived the winter in my home without heat but I didn’t know how I could pay for it. It was such a cold winter. Once more I thank you with all my heart for the help and hope that you’ll be there for others in their time of need. GOD BLESS YOU .

DJ Burlison

5K Race to raise kidney awareness and funds for organ donation.

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

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5K Race to raise kidney awareness and funds for organ donation.

ST. GEORGE — Jace Kirk doesn’t wear a cape or a mask.

But the way that the 30-year-old father muscles through the pain, fatigue and frustration of kidney failure makes him a hero to those who love him.

“He’s my role model,” said his mom, Bobbi Kirk. “It’s really hard for him. He goes to dialysis in the morning (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and is there until 9 o’clock and then he goes straight to work. The (medical) people tell him that most people go home and go to bed because they’re so worn out after dialysis. But he goes and does a very physically demanding job. He’s an amazing person.” And if there is anything the world needs, it is more amazing people.

“It’s going to take a miracle to get him a kidney,” said his mom. “So building awareness is how we’re doing it.”

Because Jace Kirk has had a blockage from birth that led to his kidney failure, his family has been fundraising for medical procedures for most of his life. This Saturday they’ll host and participate in the Kidney for Kirk Hero Dash 5K in St. George. Participants can dress up in costumes — or not — and run 3.2 miles to help the Kirk family cover medical expenses and raise awareness about organ donation.

“The response has been overwhelmingly good,” said Bobbi Kirk. “It’s very refreshing to know people out there care about people they don’t even know.” A local radio station airs ads about the fundraisers, and when it does, Bobbi said she gets calls from people about how to sign up to be an organ donor. She knows firsthand what it’s like to be a donor because she gave Kirk one of her kidneys when he was 16.

“We knew when he reached puberty, he would need a transplant,” she said. “He was able to use it for 12 years, but he’s been on dialysis since 2010.” Kidney transplants usually last 10 to 15 years, but in Jace’s case, his body also began producing antibodies that made it difficult for him to accept a donation. His blood basically fights most other tissue types, his mom said.

Which is why the family is now praying for a miracle.

And while they hope for the best, they work to educate others about the value in organ donation and how to go about becoming a donor.

“To me the awareness, bringing this issue to the community, is so wonderful,” she said. “There are so many people on transplant lists and people need to be aware of how they can help.”

In Kirk’s case, his cousins already started a race series that each focused on different charities. Skyline alums Reza Pazooki and StevieAnn Nance co-founded the Flash Dash series with a race in Sugarhouse Park in December of 2012. Pazooki’s sister, Jackie Rock, asked if she could participate, and they made her a partner in February 2013. Their goal with the series was to hold races that benefited charities.

“The idea of being a part of something where the focus is about benefiting the community as a whole was really appealing,” said Rock, who is a mental health therapist in Utah. “It’s not about competition. It’s about coming together as a community for a common cause. It’s about helping yourself and helping each other.”

The Kidney for Kirk Hero Dash on Saturday, March 30, will be the first of the 5K series here in Utah, but they’ve already scheduled two others. The Dodgeball Dash in Sugarhouse Park on April 13 will benefit Best Friends Animal Shelter, and the Dodo Dash on May 4 will benefit the Utah Food Bank.

Each of the races will be capped at 1,000 participants, all of whom pay $25 to run. There are always extras, mostly provided by sponsors, who support the idea of giving any and all money raised by the races to the respective charities. Each racer will receive a race bag, but T-shirts are optional. Sponsors fill the goodie bags and offer prizes that are designed to match the theme of each race. Kids 11 and under are free, so families can do something healthy and emotionally uplifting together.

“We loved the idea of being able to donate all of the money to charity,” Rock said. “We wanted this to be a great experience for runners. But we wanted them to feel good about contributing to something worthwhile too.”

Bobbi Kirk is thrilled that Kirk’s race will be part of the Flash Dash Series, and she hopes that not only will it help her son, his wife and their 3-year-old son Trevin, financially, but that it also might move others to find out how they can help those suffering from organ failure.

“That’s really what we want, to raise awareness,” said Bobbi. “People want to help.” And hopefully, on the day before Easter, people will want to take some time to run a few miles for a young father and a great cause.

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