April is National Donate Life Month!

Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope everyone had a lovely Easter weekend (for those who celebrate it) or Passover (for those who celebrate that). We had a nice family dinner and relaxed the rest of the day. It’s a nice way to go into the weekend.

However, the new week begins, and it’s back to normal. But this week is the start of an important month…

National Donate Life Month (NDLM)!

During April, there are many local, regional, and national events that encourage Americans to sign up as organ donors and to celebrate previous organ donors.

Donate Life America has released some statistics about organ donation:

  • In 2016, there were more than 33,600 transplants (from 9,900 deceased and 5,900 living donors).
  • More than 116,000 men, women, and children are waiting for organ transplants.
  • About 58% of the patients waiting for transplants are minorities.
  • Another person is added to the national organ transplant waiting list every 10 minutes.
  • 8,000 people die each year (22 people each day — almost one person each hour) because an organ is not donated in time.

Most people who are waiting for an organ transplant need kidneys (80%).

Donating doesn’t only mean organs — there’s also a need for donated tissue.

  • Each year, there are approximately 30,000 tissue donors and more than 1.75 million tissue transplants; the surgical need for donated tissue is steadily rising.
  • A single tissue donor can help more than 75 people.
  • 48,000 patients have their sight restored through corneal transplants each year. As a resident in ophthalmology, I have participated in this process both in the operating room and in the discussions with the family.

Not including living donors, more than 138 million people, approximately 56% of the U.S. adult population, have registered to be organ, eye and tissue donors.

To register as an organ donor, visit RegisterMe.org. To learn more about organ donation, visit Donate Life America.

I have gathered a few stories to start publicizing on the site but it’s not too late.if anyone else wants to tell their story – as a donor, family member of a deceased donor, or recipient. Please contact me if you want to write about your experience.  I am looking forward to hearing from you.

For more about my journey after kidney transplantation, you can visit my blog Life: The Reboot .

Be Inspired – Give Life!


It’s My 3-Month Transplantiversary!

National Kidney MonthIt’s been three months since my kidney transplant.  The doctors have just spread out my doctor’s appointments and blood tests – I was getting my labs done every week and seeing the doctor every 2 weeks. Now, the labs are every 2 weeks and I see the doctor every month.  Woo-hoo! Things continue to move in a positive direction.

As my health continues to improve, I am still looking for ways to get the word out about the new focus of this blog. I boosted the last post – it was cool that I heard from some people that I hadn’t been in contact with for years. For all the concerns with Facebook right now, there is one thing that it does very well – connecting you with long-lost friends. They all sent kind words and encouragement – one point for the book of Faces, right?

But more importantly, the month of March is National Kidney Month, and March 8th was World Kidney Day. This year, the theme for World Kidney Day was “Kidneys & Women’s Health: Include, Value, Empower”.   In many ways, women are different so it’s great that there has been more focus on managing chronic kidney disease (CKD) and other kidney diseases in women. Women also tend to donate a kidney more frequently but are less likely to receive transplants . There have been multiple events around the country (and world) providing education about kidney health in a variety of formats, such as lectures and presentations, Congressional dinners, and even cooking classes!

The month’s not over yet – you can check sites like the National Kidney Foundation to look for events in your area.

I am still looking for stories from donors, recipients, and people in need of a transplant (email: akidneyfornikki@gmail.com).  And as I noted in an earlier post, I am also starting a blog about my journey after transplant. It’s called Life: The Reboot  – check it out, join in – we all could use a refresh in our lives!

Remember, more eyes, more exposure for those people who need an organ!

Be inspired – Give Life!


What’s Next?

It’s been 10 weeks since my Kidney Transplant!

I feel good – I’m working on getting my strength back.  It is a slow process, but I can tell I’m moving in the right direction day by day!

Time to look forward…

As I noted in my last post, I have several things I want to do as I reclaim my life. One is to do what I can to help people who were in my situation. I love my Wanted: A Kidney for Nikki blog because it introduced me to many of you who took the time and energy to respond, to write a note, pray for me and my family, or even call in to get more information about being tested as a potential donor.  I’m going to keep the blog but repurpose it a bit…

I want to continue to help get information about organ donation out – by publishing stories from:

  • Other recipients,
  • Donors, and
  • People looking for a donor.

I will also have posts about kidney health and organ donation as well.

It’s important that more people hear about organ donation and how it changes lives. I also want to give people who are looking for a donor one other avenue to get more eyes on their stories.

So, I would like to ask for your help – again – in sharing this post to hopefully start the ball rolling….

Share this post with your friends. I’m going to reach out to some people who mentioned in the comments that they donated or received a transplant, but I could really use your help getting the word out.

I have set up an email account for this purpose: akidneyfornikki@gmail.com

I am so grateful for my new life – hopefully, this blog will be helpful to someone else in starting theirs.

Be Inspired — Give Life!


A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with My New Kidney

We found her.  A HERO!

I just got out of the hospital after my KIDNEY TRANSPLANT!

It was the best holiday gift ever.  We found my living kidney donor through this FACEBOOK page and blog.

It’s amazing – I feel so blessed – that she stopped and read about me, called in, and followed the doctors’ multiple requests to get ready for the surgery. I can’t emphasize how much this means to me and my family – or how much she herself means to me. I don’t think I can thank her enough!

After the surgery, my kidney donor checked out of the hospital the following day.

We have become friends and plan to go to the beach together soon!

I want to thank everyone who read this blog, left encouraging comments, spread the word, or called in to ask about being tested. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Now that I have had the transplant, it’s not over…

I will need to recover and start getting back to my new normal.  It has been tough to exercise while on dialysis.

Now that I am 50 years old, I want to get healthy again – exercising, eating better, and fully participating in my life. If I can do it, anyone can. I am going to chronicle my journey and I invite you to follow along – and participate!

Also, I want to be a voice for people with kidney failure and transplants. As a doctor, having been on both sides of the situation, I have insights that might help both the patient and medical communities. I am still working on my vision but will definitely keep you up to date through this page.

Here’s to a happy and healthier 2018.

Good Samaritan Kidney Donation

Even if a person does not match my blood type, it is possible to still donate and help me, along with a number of other people.

There is the “Good Samaritan” donation. or non-directed donation – when a donor donates to a stranger who has a non-compatible donor. This type of donation can lead to a domino chain that may impact many people. For instance, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has had a living donor chain of 51 donations now – and it all started with an altruistic woman who approached the hospital without having a specific person designed for donation.  She was approved for donation and they found a recipient who had a non-compatible donor. That non-compatible donor donated to someone else and so the chain started. Nebraska recently had a similar chain that included a pediatric recipient.

So, even if you don’t match me, there are still options to help me and others!

While it is a big decision to donate a kidney, living donors can save lives. A living donor candidate is a person who is healthy, well-informed and makes a voluntary decision to donate one of their kidneys. Living donors must be over 18 and in good general health, have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 30, a non-smoker, with no evidence of significant high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, heart disease or hepatitis.

Thanks for helping us find a living kidney donor.  Please spread the word and/or call us at 770-310-2426 for info to do a 15-minute phone screening or St. Luke’s Transplant Department directly at 832-355-4100 for me, Dominique Brooks.

Be Inspired — Give Life!

Dominique (Nikki) Brooks

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