If you need a kidney transplant, your best option is to receive a kidney from a living donor. But it’s easier said than done!
The truth is, there is an enormous physical and emotional toll of living with end-stage kidney disease, not to mention the exhaustion of dialysis treatment.
So it is not a surprise that finding a living donor can be overwhelming. In fact, the conversation is so difficult more than half of all people in need of a kidney transplant do not even ask one person to donate.
Though you may not want to ask, often friends and family members are eager to spread the word for you and help identify potential living donors.
Throughout your journey to transplantation, remember that a living kidney donation is your best option and sharing your need is the fastest way to identifying a potential living donor.

Finding Your Voice

To begin identifying potential living donors, start by discussing with your family and friends why your doctors are recommending a kidney transplant, explaining that living kidney donation is your best option.

It will be easier to initiate the conversation and find the right words to express your emotions with those closest to you. Each conversation you have will make you more confident to speak with others. If you feel you cannot find the right words to say in person, consider sending an email. During your conversations, let others know that you understand living donation may not be an option for everyone. Acknowledge that this is their decision and that your relationship will not change if they choose not to donate.

Living Kidney Donor Communication Tools

Here are a few ways to contact your family and friends and potential strangers who may be willing to be donors. Keep in mind that there is no “right way” to communicate your need. However, it is certain that the longest route to transplantation is to say nothing and wait in silence for a deceased kidney donation.


Identify a Donor Champion

Identify a Living Donor Champion

Identify a Living Donor Champion

You may not feel worthy to receive a living kidney donation, or you may feel guilty about making such a request. For these reasons, identify a Living Donor Champion from your close family and friends who can be your main supporter and voice for spreading the word about your kidney disease and need for transplantation. Your Living Donor Champion will also serve as the point of contact for anyone who wants more information about the process or how to be tested, thus making it easier for someone to come forward and ask for more information.

Letter, Email, Flier

Write a Letter / Email

Write a Letter / Email

Send your family/friends a letter, text or email updating them with your condition and the progress being made to find a living donor. The holiday season is an optimal time to send such a letter; however a personal note can be sent at any time.

  • Ask your Living Donor Champion to send to family and friends on your behalf
  • Explain your situation
  • Educate on living kidney donation
  • List contact information for Ohio State’s Comprehensive Transplant Center and link to the donor health history questionnaire: osuwexmedlivingdonor.org

Online Networking

Online Networking

Online Networking

Social networking provides several tools for connecting with potential living donors. It is easy to connect with your entire social network, and allows for your friends to share with others outside your immediate social circle. Additionally, you can keep followers updated and link to other living donation websites.

Church Bulletin

Post in Church Bulletins

Post in Church Bulletins

Have your Living Donor Champion post a short request in the bulletins of places of worship of family and friends. Since all major religions practiced in the U.S. support organ donation and consider it a generous act of caring, you may find potential donors from the congregation.

Non-Conventional Ads

Non-Conventional Advertising

Non-Conventional Advertising

Patient success stories


Brothers Chad and Rick

Chad (left) still isn't sure how he ended up in renal failure, he is sure he can count on his brother Rick (right) who jokes, "He's my brother and he's family. If he needs it, he's got it. That's what family does."


Carl, pictured with his wife Louise, received a kidney from his daughter-in-law.

Carl of Kettering, Ohio had a kidney transplant in 2003 after nine years on dialysis. Since his transplant, he and his wife Louise celebrated their 50th anniversary and welcomed two great-grand children.


Rollie made the decision to be a non-directed donor after watching Ohio State's television broadcast on organ donation and transplantation.


Christie (left) received a kidney from her mother Barbara (right).

“I’m so appreciative of what my mother did. I take good care of the gift she gave me.”


Jason, held by his wife and kids, received a kidney from a donor he met through Facebook.


Evans donated a kidney to his son.

“Giving life to another person is a blessing.”


Lanny (striped shirt with his wife Carol) received a kidney from his cousin Jay (blue shirt with his wife Ginny).


Jon (center) received his first kidney from his mom Betty (left) in 1974 and a second kidney from his wife Joyce (right) in 2012.


John received a kidney from his daughter Samantha.

John knew his kidneys would fail one day, and his daughter, Samantha, was by his side, ready to donate. "I didn't have to die to be able to help someone though organ donation," she says. "We have the means to help each other through living donation."


Pictured with his family, George (seated) received a kidney from his step-daughter Tammy (left).

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