Rotarians hear about transplants

·2 min read

Jul. 25—LIMA — There are far more people in need of a transplant than there are organs available. According to Donate Life America, while 95 percent of U.S. adults support organ donation, only 54 percent are actual registered donors. By signing up as an organ donor, you can save lives.

Doug Wise lives with a transplanted organ. His kidneys failed. A contributing factor was high blood pressure. Wise met with doctors at St. Rita's where he was told that he was in renal failure. He received his kidney at the Cleveland Clinic. "I even got to see my kidney before they put it in. It was lying there on the table and the doctor showed it to me.

"There are all kinds of side effects. Because of the anti-rejection regimen, which is a common combination of immunosuppressive drugs along with prednisone, you are susceptible to many things. They are expensive. I take drugs and then I take drugs to counteract the side effects. And then I take supplements to counteract those. So in all I take 28 pills. I have no immune system. I look at them as minor inconveniences. I'm still here. I got my transplant on August 6, 2010. A transplant normally lasts about nine years. I'm at year 12. I got a deceased kidney from a lady who died in a car accident the day before in Arizona," Wise said.

Although almost 170 million people are registered to be donors, only three in 1,000 people die in a way that allows for deceased organ donation. That's why organ donation is a special opportunity and adding the donor designation to your driver's license is so important.

Wise related a brief history of transplants. "In 1950 is when the transplant thing really started going. The kidney transplants and also the lung transplants. They are not an exact science but they are good. Originally when they did transplants they had no anti-rejection regimens so transplants didn't last but a few months. They're telling me at Cleveland Clinic that within a few years, if I ever do need a kidney again, they can do it one of two ways: either my own stem cells or from a pig, because a pig is very compatible with human beings."

Wise remains active. He will be refereeing his 42nd year of high school football. He golfs at least twice a week and works a 12-hour shift.

Wise concluded his remarks, "When I look back at my journey, I have to smile. I realized that I have the privilege to be among you. Please donate if you can. If you can't, talk to people. This is another way to help people. It's a life-saving task."

Reach Dean Brown at 567-242-0409