Transplant wait times and how you can donate to save a life

The average wait time for a kidney transplant is 3 to 5 years
Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 8:05 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The process takes time. A lot of tests are involved and for some, it’s all about waiting for that life-saving call. Father of five daughters Billy McFarland used to think he was Superman, but when he had kidney failure, everything about his health changed.

“The process was, you know, coming here to the Davita, having good caregivers and nurses and social workers to take care of you, so you know it was a trial,” said McFarland.

When McFarland finally got the call more than five years later, things moved quickly and before he knew it, he had a brand new kidney.

“I know I can’t thank him, but I would like to thank the family members, you know, something in my near future I want to do, so without the donors, man, it really counts a whole lot. To be a living donor, just, it helps so many people,” said McFarland.

Amanda Pryne’s son received a kidney transplant when he was 12, but at 19 years old his transplant failed.

“It’s really hard actually, knowing that your child needs this life-saving intervention and there really isn’t anything as a parent that you can do to fix it because everyone wants to make sure their child doesn’t suffer,” said Pryne.

Mom wanted to help by donating herself, but she wasn’t a match. There was hope though. So Amanda signed up for an exchange program, she was a match with someone. Meanwhile, at the same time, her son would get a similar call that he also had a match.

“I think it was really amazing to know that even though I wasn’t able to physically give my kidney to my child that I was still able to impact someone else’s family in that way,” said Pryne.

Jessica Brown with Davita Kidney Care encourages everyone to become involved. Your local transplant center can help you or help you help someone. “There are ways to designate where you want your kidney to go if you have a specific person in mind or you donate anonymously,” said Brown.

There also is no need to wait until you are about to or have passed away to be a donor. In 2022, there were nearly 6,500 organ donations made by living donors. While most living donors provide kidneys, you can also donate pieces of your liver.

McFarland said after his transplant he was walking around the next day and Pryne returned to work three weeks after her surgery.