Facing an organ transplant or thinking about becoming a living donor? Then you’ll want to hear Lenny Zweig’s story. Running out of time — and hope — for a new kidney, Lenny wore his “Share Your Spare” T-shirt to a 2018 Brewers game and his plea went viral. Emily Nowak, a complete stranger, saw his request on social media and offered him one of her kidneys — and helped give Lenny the gift of life.
This kind of altruism is more common than you think. A recent U.S. Department of Health & Human Services report put the number of living kidney donors in the country at 6,445 in 2018. Kidneys from living donors are often preferable to kidneys from deceased donors because the kidney functions more quickly and survives longer. This can shorten the time a recipient is waiting to receive a kidney transplant.
To learn more about becoming a living donor, call the Abdominal Transplant Program at St. Luke’s Medical Center at 414-646-0584.
As a donor, your experience begins with an interview and screening during your initial phone call. Subsequent steps include a blood draw to test for compatibility, diagnostic testing and meetings/appointments with the transplant team. Once you’re approved by the team, surgery can be scheduled.
If your kidney isn't compatible with your chosen recipient, your living donation can still ensure that person gets the transplant he/she needs through our kidney exchange program. It's the same program that helped Lenny and Emily.