Posted by: Kate | April 7, 2011

Do Something

Once again, here comes Kate with an opportunity for you – not just the general-web-community-you, but specifically you, the person inhabiting your brain at the moment – to get involved with a medical crisis. Just another little free service I offer, though, ohh, how I wish I could spend a month or three not thinking about health, illness, recovery, vibes, miracles and the like.

Today’s horrible situation comes courtesy of Carolyn, one of my very dearest friends ever and someone who has been wading through far more than a lifetime’s share of stress in just the past few years. If it hasn’t been enough to watch her loved ones struggle with health issues – and sometimes lose – she has been handed an unfairly high pile of her own concerns to cope with. And yet she keeps plugging away, tackling each day long after the rest of us would have thrown up our hands and started searching for the nearest big rock to hide under.

Then came today’s Facebook status, just one more shock to an already beleaguered system:

My 11 year old nephew Carlos is suffering chronic kidney failure and is in the hospital. He will need dialysis immediately and a kidney transplant as soon as possible. His blood type is B+. Anyone with type B or O blood who would consider getting on the list of potential donors, contact me asap. Please keep Carlos in your prayers. And thank you.

We’ve had a tiny bit of experience, around these parts, worrying and hoping for kidney patients. Remember Derek, the honoree at our Pepperoni Pizza and Chocolate Milk parties? He’s doing beautifully, in no small part because of the well-wishes and random kindness of strangers out there (though in even larger part because he was blessed with a mother willing and able to move mountains as needed, not to mention a father willing to part with a kidney). I’m forced to admit that I forgot to even think about having a pizza party last September… 2010 was not a banner year for me in many ways, especially if those ways required me to remember that life was going on outside the four walls of my own home. We’ll schedule a make-up pizza date very soon… and I’m also a tiny bit thrilled at the knowledge that Derek’s health has become so much sturdier, to the point that I could take it – at least a little bit – for granted.

Now, unfortunately, it’s Carlos’ turn. And you have the chance to step in much earlier in the process.

It’s up to you, of course, just how involved you get. You can send some positive vibes out into the universe, and stop there, and even that would be a lovely and appreciated thing. For all I used to hope for people and think about their circumstances and wish there was something, anything, I could do, I never realized just how much it matters, just knowing that people are bothering to think and wish and hope.

You can also check your own blood type, and give a moment’s thought to donating. No more than that, based solely on a blog post, please: just give it a little thought, and if you’re a match, maybe drop me a line so that I can get you in touch with Carlos’ mom. (They live just outside of New York City, in case geography might play a role in your decision.) This boy is a fireball, a bundle of intensity and energy, and it is nothing sort of a crime against nature that he is in a hospital bed right now. At eleven years old, he’s having thoughts that most of us get through our entire adult lives without thinking… so while I would be appalled if you were to up and decide to donate a kidney based on some random words on a weblog, I would also consider it a little more natural for you to consider donating than if I was writing about, say, my grandmother. (Who is a beautiful, wonderful human being… but she’s no longer a child.)

You can decide that, due to your blood type or to some other factor, kidney donation – either this one time, now, or in general – is not for you. That’s a perfectly valid, normal, acceptable conclusion to reach, and I appreciate your willingness to think about it anyway.

You can pass the message along, because if I don’t know someone who can donate, maybe you do. And if you are able to pass the word, either through a status message or a blog post, please let me know. Once upon a time, I might have been a wee bit prone to taking for granted the act of reposting, passing the word, spreading information… but now, when some days words are simply beyond me, I recognize just how precious they are.

And no matter which, if any, of the above actions you choose, I hope you’ll consider one more: this coming September, just after the kids have gone back to school and life starts to fall into a routine again, we need to start an annual pizza party again. For Derek, for Carlos, and for all of the others for whom a little extra protein has suddenly become a very big deal. Don’t worry: you don’t need to remember, all by yourself. I’ll remind you.


  1. Kate, I am B+ but would not be considered prime material, sadly. BUT…find out his size, since that also can make a difference.

    Prayers from California. I’ve worked with kids like him before and know, second-hand, how difficult it is for them and for their families. There may be matches within his own ethnicity — and others (maybe Ashkenazic Jews, we all are B+ in my family as far as I know, both parents are/were).

    I think of you often! Just too busy, w/two jobs, to hang out. Poor Jacob, corneal injuries HURT.

  2. Hi Kate,

    I’m B+ and would consider it, but I did some research online and there also has to be an antigen match and cross-match. I would so like to help this little boy, but with Sabrina’s diabetes the Dr. has told us that she has a 35% chance of auto immune kidney disease so I may need to save it for her. I so hope that Carlos finds a kidney.

  3. Hi Kate,

    I’m 31 years old, Im healthy and my blood type is B+, you can contact me at my email address and I will be more than happy to donate one of my kidneys. If you can contact a hospital that makes the study if I can donate it. I live in Bogotá, Colombia.

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