‘Kidney Swap’ Program Increases Living Donations

When former New York Jets running back Dennis Bligen was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) in 2011, and told by doctors that he needed a new kidney, the news came as a shock.

For his long-time friend, Jill Christensen—who worked with him in the athletics department at St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y.—the news was a call to action. “I just knew I would get tested [to become a donor],” she says. But it turned out that Ms. Christensen’s kidneys were not an appropriate match.

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Questions and Answers About Organ Donation

Every 15 hours, someone in New York State dies waiting for an organ transplant. The shortage of available organs is so severe that in 2012, as many as 9,914 people were listed as waiting for transplants in New York State, for which there were only 358 deceased donors and 481 living donors, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. One donor can save up to eight lives.

The New York Organ Donor Network (NYODN), a federally designated organ procurement organization, and one of the nation’s largest, serves a diverse population of 13 million people in the New York metropolitan area. The organization facilitates donation with The Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Recanati/Miller Transplantation Institute, nine other transplant centers, and more than 90 hospitals in the region.

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