all about GREAT

For Mary & to Raise Awareness About Organ Donation

This page is dedicated to my dear friend Mary and also, to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation.

Hey Everyone, Jeff Here...

I want to share some info about my dear friend Mary, and to let you know about her current health challenge. This is not an easy topic for me to write about and while writing books about Great Danes & dogs, this page is tough. Yet I know, without sharing Mary's story, someone who might be interested in helping won't have that opportunity.

There's Something About Mary

Mary sitting with her Great Dane Apollo.

Mary is a wonderful woman, friend, and Great Dane lover who is dear to my heart. Mary has contributed to this website since 2005. Mary is a Mother of 3 and a recent new Grandmother. At age 49, my friend has so much life left ahead of her.

Mary has end stage kidney disease and has been on dialysis for almost 5 YEARS. She has two options to survive: A kidney transplant from a deceased donor, or a kidney transplant from a living donor.

Since I care so much for Mary and we're still waiting almost 5 YEARS for a deceased donor, I'm doing everything I can to help Mary find someone who may be interested in a living kidney donation.

Mary uses a home cycler for 12-hours every day to replicate kidney function. It is difficult to maintain a normal lifestyle when on dialysis. The daily battles to stabilize blood pressure, red blood cell count, calcium, potassium and phosphate levels are all-consuming. It is an exhausting, a physically and emotionally challenging existence.

Mary is vibrant, loving, thoughtful and caring, she has never asked once for sympathy or pity and has carried the burden of this disease quietly. On Mary's behalf, if you have ever considered donating to help someone in need, please do. If you know anyone who might want to help, please share this page. Sharing with your family, friends, work, school, congregation or any communities you belong to would be most greatfully appreciated.

One Thing We All Can Do

There is one important thing we all can do and it's real easy... register as an organ and tissue donor in your State. You'll most likely receive a driver's license with a little heart graphic on it somewhere which indicates proudly that in the event of your passing, your organs and tissue will live on giving life to countless others in need!

In 2017 alone, registered donors gave life to over 34,000 people with organ and tissue donations, that's absolutely incredible! From organs to corneas, hands, marrow, blood and stem cells, blood platelets and many other tissues, what a gift we can give after our passing!

Registration is simple and, run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services makes it easy. Additionally, many States provide a box on their driver's license application/renewal forms that you can check-off to be registered. You can't take it with you when you're gone so please consider this simple life-saving gift to others in need.

Why Some Don't Ask

It's not uncommon for many in need of a transplant to remain quiet and statistics show that more than 50% of patients in renal failure decide to live with the disease quietly rather than seek a living donor. The phrase commonly associated here is, "The Big Ask, The Big Give".

As an advocate for Mary, I hope to spread awareness about living organ donation to the best of my ability. Hopefully my efforts may educate some and raise awareness that the gift of life is achievable, one incredible human being to another.

Why Are Living Donors so Important?

  • Short and long term survival rates are significantly better for transplants from living donors than transplants from deceased donors. (On average, approximately 18 years for a kidney from a living donor compared to 13 years for a kidney from a deceased donor).

  • An organ recipient knows the donor, his/her lifestyle choices and medical history.

  • Living donor kidneys almost always start functioning immediately, whereas deceased donor kidneys can take from a few days to a few weeks to start functioning.

  • Health deteriorates the longer someone remains on dialysis.

  • The surgery can be scheduled at a mutually-agreed upon time rather than performed on an emergency basis.

  • Perhaps the most important aspect of living donation is the psychological benefit. The recipient can experience positive feelings knowing that the gift came from a loved one or a caring stranger. The donor experiences the satisfaction of knowing that he or she has contributed to the improved health of the recipient.

  • Learn more about the initial steps that potential donors face following the links below.

    The Big Ask, The Big Give
    Organ Donor Evaluation
    Blood Tests for Transplant
    What if You're Incompatible

    Mary brushing Apollo.

    What About Costs and Medical Expenses?

    Many are unaware that all medical expenses, surgery & hospital expense associated with donating a kidney are paid for by the transplant recipients insurance and the American Kidney Fund. Mary's surgery will take place at Massachusetts General Hospital, ranked the 4th-best hospital in the United States with a top-rated organ transplant center.

    Please Help Me Raise Awareness About Organ Donation

    Right now, there are about 115,000 people waiting for a life saving organ transplant. The non-profit organization (UNOS), is contracted by the federal government to manage our nation's organ transplant system.

    You can find more information by visiting United Network for Organ Sharing website here.

    My hope is that this page increases organ donation awareness, convinces some folks to register as organ and tissue donors in their State, and presents the opportunity for an incredible individual to consider a living kidney donation for my amazing friend.

    Mary with her new Grandson

    How Can You Help?

    The easiest way to help or receive additional info is to simply contact me using our contact form in the navigation menu. You don't even have to say much, or you can ask 100 questions. When you submit the form you'll receive a page that includes my contact phone number.

    Next, I will answer any questions you may have and will share the telephone number of Laura, Mary's transplant coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital. Laura can answer anything and you'll find the process begins with a simple donor questionnaire. There is no commitment expected from you, simply getting in touch with me or Laura would be more than we can ever have hoped for.

    Please share this page using the social buttons provided to help spread the word about living organ donation and organ & tissue donor registration.

    Thank you all so very much for your company since 2005 & God Bless!
    Jeff Z.