Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Fred Got a Kidney Today - Ecumenism and Benevolence at their Best

Fred Howe (4FredAKidney.com) received a life-saving gift today from a person who, guided by Renewal, read on Facebook about Fred’s desperate need to be saved in Facebook's Catholic Prayer Group.

Joe Gilvary, an altruistic donor volunteer who had never before met Fred Howe, came forward from Maryland and has taken a short period of time off from work in order to undergo transplant surgery and rest before returning to his job.  Joe, a father of three, donated his kidney to Fred, a father of two and grandfather of six.  Donor and recipient are doing well.  Watch video.

Fred’s wife Barbara has worked tirelessly for more than 3 years to let the world know of her husband’s need.  She used a variety of methods, from lawn signs and printed flyers to email and, ultimately, this website (4FredAKidney.com) and Facebook.  Fred’s website went live March 19, 2018, exactly 3 months ago to the day of his life-saving transplant.

Credit, respect, honor and heartfelt thanks go to so many people but certainly first and foremost to kidney donor Joe Gilvary whose selfless act of human kindness has returned Fred to his life.

And Renewal, an incredible non-profit organization that helps donors navigate the administrative processes, holds their hands, is with them during testing, answers questions and provides support in  all important ways imaginable.  If you’re moved to help Renewal carry on its important work of facilitating kidney transplants but can’t donate a kidney, consider donating money.

Fred's wife, Barbara Howe, is a formidable advocate.  Every kidney patient needing a transplant needs a Barbara Howe on their team.  She beat the bushes, dug up every lead, and asked for help everywhere she could imagine.  She just was not going to take “no” for an answer.  Her Fred was going to get a kidney and she wasn’t going to sleep until he did.

Through Barbara’s effective and continual work getting the message out, this website received almost 38,000 visits since launching.

The lesson here is that although finding a kidney donor is not easy, it is not impossible either.  Try this, try that, speak with people, get and implement ideas, never give up.  Fred’s and Barbara’s story inspires.

Fred Howe started dialysis in April, 2015.  In February, 2016 he reached out to Renewal.  As with all patients, Renewal created an advertising campaign for him.  His family spent much time campaigning and spreading the word through Facebook, lawn signs and even car magnets.

Monday, March 19, 2018

An Open Letter to Save My Life




Help me by Sharing this Post:
I am Fred.  I need a kidney.  Not necessarily your kidney, but someone's.  You can help just by sharing this post with your friends on FaceBook.  Together we can find that angel willing to do the extraordinary to save my life.

Fred and Barbara Howe and Family

I have end-stage renal failure due to Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis ("FSGS").  I have been on dialysis for three years.  I desperately need an angel now to step forward to save my life by volunteering to give me a kidney (blood type O, but any type could work through Paired Kidney Exchange, discussed below).  Tall order, I know.  It's a big ask.  So I'm not asking.  But I am asking for your help in another way.  There's something else that you can do to help me (and others with a similar need), even if you're not a donor: I need you to spread the word by sharing this request, and I'll show you how to do that in this post.  Your job simply would be to get the word out about my need for a kidney.

I am told that the more people who know of my need, the better my chance is of reaching a person willing to be an altruistic donor.  So, now it's all about getting the word out.  That's where you come in.

Who Am I?
I am a husband, father and grandfather.  I am a friend. I am a kind, compassionate and mindful individual. I volunteer as a judge at antique car shows.  I help people who need help.  I worked for many years in the food service industry, managing a university lunch rooms and a restaurant.

My most precious moments are those spent with my grandchildren.  I hope to watch my amazing grandchildren continue to grow and start families of their own someday.

My wife noticed that I always tell my grandchildren, "you can change the world."  A friend's kidney donor said that she has taught her children "to change the world, you have to be the change."

How to Help Me:
I need your help to find a kidney donor so I can live.

Please give me 15 minutes (or more) and use that time to tell the world about this website (4FredAKidney.com).
  • Email: Send this website to your friends (all of them) by email.
  • Facebook: Post a small note on Facebook with a link to this website (icon above).
  • LinkedIn: Post a small note on LinkedIn with a link to this website (icon above).
  • Other Social Media Sites: Post a small note with a link to this website (icons below). 
And ask your contacts, readers, friends and acquaintances to do the same (to give this webpage exponential distribution).  
Why this is So Serious - My Options: 
Most people have two well-functioning kidneys but can lead a full and equally healthy life with just one kidney.  Both of my kidneys are almost fully shut down by PKD.  So, medically I now have only two options to continue living:
  • dialysis (life expectancy about 5 years)
  • transplant (a new lease on life)
According to USRDS data, Kidney transplant recipients fare far better than dialysis patients. I need those additional years in order to continue helping others.

My family members are medically disqualified as donors because of the genetic nature of PKD.

Also, if a willing donor is not an exact match, through an arrangement called "Paired Kidney Donation" (kidney swapping) a donor who is not a match for me might be a match for someone else and I would be eligible to receive that person's donor's kidney that would be a match for me. 

If You'd Like More Information:
For more information, see "Becoming a Kidney Donor" and/or watch this short video. 

Lloyd E. Ratner, MD New York Presbyterian-Columbia

To Speak with Someone Confidentially:
If you'd like to speak with someone confidentially (without disclosing your inquiry to me), please call Renewal of Life* at 718-431-9831 x 209, or email to R1044@Renewal.org.  My Patient ID is R1044.  Your questions will be answered by a qualified person who is familiar with my case.  Renewal is a not-for-profit organization that helps kidney donors navigate the donation process.  They are very knowledgeable and helpful.

Speaking with a Renewal staff member is much better than speaking with me.  They know far more than I do and you will get better information from them than from me.  So please, feel free to contact Renewal.

Keep in mind that a confidential phone call to Renewal does not come with any obligations to proceed further.

Help Me by Sharing.  Unfortunately, "Likes" are Not Enough:
So, please help me by Sharing this post with your Facebook and other friends.  Please do more than "like" or comment.  Likes and comments are the "hopes and prayers" of social media.  Shares = action; the action needed here.

I need your help to find a kidney donor so I can live.

Together, we can do this.  Yes we can.

Thank you,


*Renewal of Life Inc is an IRS 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to find and match kidney donors for those suffering from various forms of kidney disease.
Note: It is illegal to exchange money for a kidney. No such request will be granted any consideration. 

Fred Got a Kidney Today - Ecumenism and Benevolence at their Best

Fred Howe ( 4FredAKidney.com ) received a life-saving gift today from a person who, guided by Renewal , read on Facebook about Fred’s despe...