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Student who hears our Kids and Kidneys Presentation to Donate Kidney

    May 30th, 2014

 Hi there!

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.


K. Young

U of U Hospital Live Tweets Kidney Transplant

    May 21st, 2014


U of U tweeting kidney transplant  #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.

Haircuts in American Fork to benfit Local Kidney Transplant family

    April 25th, 2014



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: / 801-372-2973




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

    April 16th, 2014

yes utah

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


U of U Hospital employee receives kidney donation from Nephrologist brother-in-law from Wisconsin

    April 16th, 2014

steve perry and bob haw


MARSHFIELD — Marshfield Clinic pediatric nephrologist Dr. Bob Haws has counseled families about kidney donation for years in his medical practice. Since becoming a kidney donor himself, Haws said he can now speak from experience about making a life-saving gift.

Haws had supported and counseled his brother-in-law, Steve Perry of Salt Lake City, for years while Perry battled kidney disease, but when Haws learned in March 2011 Perry would soon need dialysis, he started the donor evaluation process.

“I felt a spiritual drive, that this is what God would want me to do,” Haws said.

He said Perry might have had to wait two to seven years for a transplant, a time period many patients with kidney disease don’t survive.

After undergoing blood tests and human leukocyte antigen tests, Haws learned he was a three out of six match with Perry — a very compatible match usually seen between parents and children. The transplant surgeries were scheduled for Oct. 11, 2013, at the University of Utah Hospital where Haws had attended medical school.

“It really came out of the blue when he said he wanted to donate,” Perry said. “When I married his younger sister 40 years ago, if someone had told me he’d be giving me a kidney, I’d have laughed them out of the room, but things have a way of changing.

“There’s really no way to tell how much gratitude there is,” he said.

Perry’s quality of life has improved dramatically since the transplant. Before receiving his kidney disease diagnosis, he regularly bicycled up to 100 miles in a single weekend. A month before the transplant, he struggled through a 5K walk for the National Kidney Foundation and would become fatigued doing his job repairing medical equipment.

Perry returned to work about three and a half months ago and said he’s looking forward to participating in cycling events with this son this summer.

Haws’ recovery also went smoothly — he was out of the hospital in three days and back to work in seven.

“It’s not as big a deal as I always thought,” he said. “I can still go skiing and do normal things.”

Haws said becoming a donor has made him feel closer to parent donors and has helped him counsel them through the process. Many potential donors fear having only one kidney will impact their energy levels, ability to work or ability to have children, he said.

“I tell (potential donors) the anxiety about donating a kidney shouldn’t be there, but now I can speak with authority about it and be more sincere when talking to parents,” Haws said. “I want people to know donation is a wonderful, loving act of kindness.”


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

    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.

    February 26th, 2014



sydney the kidney

Realtor organizes Christmas gifts for 193 sick Utah kids

    December 24th, 2013

kidney kids photo

Cathy Allred – Daily Herald(0) Comments
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Jimmy Rex provides Christmas to kids 2013

Jimmy Rex provides Christmas to kids 2013

Date Auction 2012

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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?

    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.


3 received kidney transplants in a chain of giving

    September 18th, 2013

3 receive kidney transplants in a chain of giving

SALT LAKE CITY — Three people are recovering after receiving new kidneys. What makes their medical procedure so incredible is the connection they share — living donors who came together as part of a paired transplant exchange.

All three received a kidney last week, including Hayley Fershtut’s 2-year-old son, Beckham.

“The people who have stepped up to save my baby’s life, it’s been amazing,” Fershtut, of Layton, said through tears.

When Beckham was born, doctors discovered his kidneys did not fully develop and were functioning at just 12 percent of what they should be.

“He had a window of a couple of months that we needed to get this done in order to avoid having to put him on dialysis,” explained Dr. Raoul Nelson, a pediatric nephrologist at Primary Children’s Medical Center.

Since the surgery Sept. 11, the little boy is doing so much better, according to his parents.

“He couldn’t walk before. He couldn’t keep any food down before,” said Beckham’s father, Ari Fershtut, “and now with this new kidney, he should be able to live a very normal life, be able to catch up and walk and run like other kids and go outside and play with them.”

The surgery was dream come true for Beckham’s parents. Ari Fershtut was going to donate a kidney to his son, but they were not a match.

“The kidney was something that we personally couldn’t give to him, and I am so grateful to them that will step up and come to give him something that we couldn’t,” Hayley Fershtut said.

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The toddler’s kidney came from Kristy Buffington, of Twin Falls, Idaho. The 37-year-old wanted to donate her kidney to her friend Brandy Jess, 40, but last-minute tests showed they weren’t a match.

“So I decided to donate to her, and then we came down (in July) and the final cross-match said we weren’t a match, that the first test was actually wrong,” Buffington said.

They were ready to turn around and go back to Idaho when Buffington said they were approached about the paired exchange program. She told doctors she was willing to do the paired exchange only if there was a guarantee that her friend would receive a kidney. After a couple of weeks, matches were found.

Even though Buffington wasn’t a match for Jess, she’s happy she was able to help a little boy.

“It was really awesome to be able to help this little guy at the same time,” Buffington said. “He’s only 2, so that was pretty cool, too.”

While Ari Fershtut, 32, was not a perfect match for his son, he was a match for Juan Romero, 45, of Wendover, who waited three years for a transplant and had been on dialysis. Both men had the same rare B-negative blood type.

“The doctors say the kidney is working very well,” Romero said.

Now, he has a new lease on life, thanks to people he had never met before.

“I’m just grateful I got to help my son, but also help (Romero) as well,” Ari Fershtut said. “It’s a bonus on top of that. It’s great that I got to be a part of it.”

Bartling’s gift began a chain reaction that resulted in three people receiving a kidney. His went to Jess, Jess’ friend Buffington was a match for 2-year-old Beckham Fershtut, and his dad, Ari Fershtut, was a match for Romero.
Their surgery was performed Sept. 12.

Jess’ transplant exchange was made possible by Ted Bartling, 51, of Morgan. He is known as the good Samaritan in the exchange because he has no relation to anyone else involved.

“I’m just some guy off the street that had a weird idea that I would go in and see if I could help somebody other than myself,” Bartling said. “I just knew there was someone that matched.”

It took six months of testing and looking for a match, and then the hospital called him to say they found someone he could help.

Bartling said he was feeling great six days after donating a kidney. He had no idea who would receive the kidney, but after the surgery he met Jess.

“(She’s) a mother, a wife, and that means the most to me,” he said.

Buffington said her good friend is making progress and the two of them share a much stronger bond, even though Jess didn’t receive one of Buffington’s kidneys.

“She is kind of having a rough time of it, but she will make it,” Buffington said. “She is an amazing person. She’s got a good, positive attitude, so she will get there.”

But Bartling’s gift began a chain reaction that resulted in three people receiving a kidney. His went to Jess, Jess’ friend Buffington was a match for 2-year-old Beckham Fershtut, and his dad, Ari Fershtut, was a match for Romero.

Enlarge image
Two-year-old Beckham Fershtut received a kidney from Kristy Buffington in a paired transplant exchange last week. His father, Ari Fershtut, wanted to donate his kidney but wasn’t a match. (Photo: University of Utah Health Care)
“And that way we were able to build a chain and take two incompatible pairs plus a non-directed donor and transplant three patients,” said Dr. Jeffrey Campsen, who performed all three surgeries on the donors.

University Hospital was the location where all the kidney donors had their surgeries, along with two recipients. Primary Children’s Medical Center was where the surgery on 2-year-old Beckham Fershtut was performed.

Ari Fershtut said the whole process was a great idea.

“Instead of helping one person, six (people’s) lives are affected, and it’s a wonderful blessing,” he said.

Bartling said donating a kidney has been life-changing for him, a chance to give back for what he has.

“We really do have to help each other, to make society better, and we have to give more than we take on occasion, and that is how I got to be here. I wanted to give more than I take,” Bartling said. “It’s such a great feeling, just to help.”