Opinion: I was able to donate a kidney to save a life, but I had to leave Kansas City to help

DATE: March 24, 2023

By Martha Gershun
Special to the Star
The Kansas City Star

Nearly 106,000 Americans are currently on the transplant waiting list. Sadly, 17 of them will die each day waiting for the organ that could save their lives.

On Dec. 30, 2022, Tonya Ingram was one. She was a 31-year-old poet who had recently shared her story before Congress while highlighting the need to increase the number of organs for transplant. It was too late for Tonya. But her story is a powerful reminder that we must do better for those still waiting on an organ transplant.

Over the past 20 years, we’ve made steady, yet insufficient, progress to increase the number of organs from deceased donors. Last year set an all-time record of 14,904, according to the nonprofit Donor Alliance. But the number of living organ donors has remained disappointingly flat for the past two decades — only 6,466 in 2022 — while the waiting list continues to grow.

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