March is National Kidney Month. There are currently more than 98 thousand Americans waiting for a lifesaving kidney transplant, nearly two thousand of which are in Colorado and Wyoming. The average time a patient spends on the waiting list is 3-5 years.
Dean Bicknese, of Casper, WY, had been on the transplant waiting list for a kidney for nearly five years when his wait came to an end thanks to his step-daughter, Shea. After waking up one morning and finding that she could not stop thinking about it, Shea surprised Dean with her decision to donate one of her own kidneys to him. After undergoing all of the necessary testing to determine that Shea was a match, Dean finally got his lifesaving kidney. He is now able to enjoy spending his time fishing and camping instead of having to go to dialysis.
“Donating my kidney was not only a gift to my dad, but to myself as well,” said Shea. “I was able to experience some really beautiful moments and really wonderful people. Through this experience, I have found a new appreciation for life and all of the people in it.”
Dean was fortunate to have found a living kidney donor in Shea. However, not everyone can make the incredible commitment to become a living donor. This month, we urge Colorado and Wyoming residents to consider registering to become organ, eye and tissue donors at the time of their deaths. This is quick and easy to do by saying “yes” at the driver license office or Driver Services, or anytime at Donate Life Colorado or Donate Life Wyoming. Deciding to register as a deceased donor could help save the lives of patients waiting for kidney transplants.
Also, for residents interested in learning more about living donation, please contact one of the local transplant centers listed on our Living Donation resource page.