A New Kind of Resolution for Kidney Patients in 2017

New York, NY—January 11, 2017—This year, the National Kidney Foundation is encouraging all those affected by chronic kidney disease to make a different kind of resolution for 2017—a resolution to ask their friends and loved ones to consider giving them a chance at life.  The Big Ask: The Big Give is a free, educational campaign that teaches kidney patients in need of a transplant how to ask their friends and loved ones to consider living organ donation. 
“If you have kidney disease and need a transplant, you may not know how to ask someone to consider donating a kidney to you,” said Kevin Longino, CEO, National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and kidney transplant patient.

“Asking can feel as hard as giving and we find that many people won’t get a transplant simply because they don’t know how to ask.  That’s why we’ve launched The Big Ask: The Big Give,” added Longino.

The Big Ask: The Big Give is a multi-media public awareness campaign which promotes awareness of living kidney donation for both the kidney patients who have difficulty asking someone to consider a kidney donation (The Big Ask) and potential donors (The Big Give). Free for patients and professionals, the program provides factual, unbiased information addressing common concerns and offers support in making a decision about living kidney donation.

“When I found out my junior high friend needed a kidney, I didn’t hesitate to step up,” said Chris Melz, who donated his kidney in 2009.  “The experience changed both of our lives.  After the transplant surgery, my friend was once again doing well, and I realized that being able to give part of myself to someone else was such an incredible experience that I wanted to do more,” added Melz who changed career paths in 2012 from being a DJ to becoming a nurse. 
“I know it isn’t easy for people suffering from kidney failure to ask a friend or loved one to consider being a living donor but people do want to help and once you both know more about what living donation entails, it becomes easier to ask,” encouraged Melz, who is featured in the new awareness campaign.  
There are more than 100,000 Americans waiting for a kidney transplant. This year, only about 18,000 people will receive the kidney they’re hoping for; one-third of which will come from living donors.
The Big Ask: The Big Give program has several free resources including a website featuring videos from actual kidney donors and kidney transplant recipients who share their real-life experiences with asking for, or giving someone, a kidney.  The videos highlight stories—from family members, friends, acquaintances and altruistic donors—which offer candid information ranging from the emotional highs and lows of dealing with kidney disease and dialysis to the transplant procedure and recovery process for donors and recipients alike.
The Big Ask: The Big Give program also offers a confidential, free hotline with trained professionals, 844-2BIGASK (844-224-4275); a peer-mentoring program called NKF Peers, which connects those affected by kidney disease with an informed and supportive mentor who has already been through the experience; and downloadable brochures with step by step information on how to ask or how to give, www.kidney.org/livingdonation. Patients or professionals may also email, bigask@kidney.org.  Anyone who has received a kidney transplant from a living donor or who has donated a kidney is encouraged to share their story using the hashtag #BigAskBigGive. 
Kidney Disease Facts
1 in 3 American adults is at risk for kidney disease.  26 million American adults have kidney disease—and most aren’t aware of it.  Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, family history, and age 60+.  People of African American; Hispanic; Native American; Asian; or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease.  African Americans are 3 ½ times more likely, and Hispanics 1 ½ times more likely, to experience kidney failure.
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive and longstanding organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney diseaseFor more information about the NKF visit www.kidney.org