NKF Observes National Donate Life Month in April

Siblings Giving the Gift of Life on National Siblings Day

New York, NY - April 1, 2021 – April is National Donate Life Month and, Saturday, April 10th is National Siblings Day! The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) celebrates this important month and day by sharing critical information about living kidney donation as well as honoring National Siblings Day by highlighting inspiring stories of siblings throughout the month who have given the gift of life to a loved one.

The availability of living donors is crucial to the survival of many kidney patients with kidney failure. Patients might wait an average of three to seven years for a kidney transplant depending on where the patient lives. Each day 12 patients die waiting for a kidney. Living donation was responsible for a total of 5,726 transplants in 2020, a decrease of 22.6 percent over the record 7,397 living donor transplants set in 2019. When a living donor, family member or sibling is willing to share this extraordinary gift with a stranger or a loved one they are literally saving that persons’ life. 

“Only 1 in 5 people on the waitlist will receive a kidney transplant this year, so finding a living donor is essential to the patients’ survival,” said Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant patient. “Siblings have a 25% chance of being a great match for a living donor transplant to their sister or brother, and it’s deeply touching to see families rally around their loved one and share this special gift. However, the need is so great that we are asking all Americans to consider becoming living donors. 1” Thousands of successful organ and tissue transplants take place each year from both deceased and living donors; however, kidney and corneal transplants are the most common. New drugs and improved techniques are increasing the numbers of heart, liver, pancreas, lung, bone, and other types of transplants. 

“I will be forever grateful to my brother John for the precious gift he gave me,” said Maria Grijalva, transplant recipient and volunteer NKF advocate. “John donated his kidney without hesitation; I have such deep appreciation for his selfless act. We definitely share a special bond and will be celebrating our 34th Kidney Transplant Anniversary on April 15.” 

NKF encourages all Americans to consider becoming a living organ donor. Join the conversation on social media during National Donate Life Month and National Siblings Day by using the hashtags #DonateLifeMonth and #NationalSiblingsDay. Learn more about NKF, living organ donation, and kidney disease at www.kidney.org/livingdonation.


  1. Columbia University. Living Donor Kidney Transplants article available at: columbiasurgery.org 


About National Kidney Foundation Living Organ Donation Resources:

THE BIG ASK: THE BIG GIVE platform, which provides nationwide outreach, is designed to increase kidney transplantation through training and tools that help patients and families find a living donor. It includes direct patient and care partner support through our toll-free help line 855-NKF-CARES, peer mentoring from a fellow kidney patient or a living donor, online communities, an advocacy campaign to remove barriers to donation, and a multi-media public awareness campaign. All resources are free and designed to teach kidney patients, or their advocates, how to make a “big ask” to their friends, loved ones, or community to consider making a “big give,” a living organ donation. www.kidney.org/livingdonation.

Kidney Disease Facts

In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it.  1 in 3 adults in the U.S. are at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabeteshigh blood pressureheart diseaseobesity, and family history. People of Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. Blacks or African Americans are almost 4 times more likely than White Americans to have kidney failure.  Hispanics are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanics to have kidney failure.

Approximately 750,000 Americans have irreversible kidney failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. More than 500,000 of these patients receive dialysis at least three times per week to replace kidney function. Nearly 100,000 Americans are on the waitlist for a kidney transplant right now.  Depending on where a patient lives, the average wait time for a kidney transplant can be upwards of three to seven years.

About the National Kidney Foundation

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org.