Finding a Living Organ Donor

At Yale New Haven Hospital’s Center for Living Organ Donors, we’ve developed the “15-Second Connection” concept as a way to help patients feel more empowered when sharing their need for a living kidney or liver organ donor. Nearly every interaction you have with another person (e.g., friend, family member, acquaintance) is a chance to find a living organ donor. Be ready to share your story. Your 15-Second Connection is made of four parts.

1. The Why

“My kidneys are failing” or “My liver is failing.”
You can add more detail about your diagnosis:

  1. “I was diagnosed a type 1 diabetic at age 5. Diabetes harms your kidneys.”
  2. “I developed liver cancer, but fortunately, it’s at the stage that’s curable by a transplant.”

2. The Need

“My best chance is to find a living donor and I’m sharing my story with everyone, including family and friends.” These words express a realistic sense of urgency.

3. The Ask

“Can you help me by sharing this information?” This is an easier question than directly asking someone to be a donor. Nowadays it’s common to share information about our daily lives. Ways others can help you share information: social media; an email blast to one’s network; talking with family, friends, religious groups, clubs or organizations.

4. The Info

Immediately hand him/her a card or piece of paper with the vital information.
This step is crucial for taking action on the information you have shared.

Suggestion: Give your friend several information cards to share. Information card should include:

  1. Patient’s first and last name
  2. Yale New Haven Transplantation Center – Center for Living Organ Donors: Referral line number: 866-925-3897
  3. Referral webpage: ynhh.org/organdonation

Putting it all together

If you are a patient

Social encounter: You see a friend, family member, acquaintance, even a stranger, and he/she says, “Hi, good to see you. How are you?”

Your response: “I’m doing well today but I’m not sure if you know what’s going on with me. My kidneys are failing. My best chance is a living donor and I’m sharing my story with everyone including family and friends. Can you help me by sharing this information?” Hand him or her several information cards to share.

If you are a patient advocate

(Family member or friend of patient seeking a living donor)

Social encounter: You see a friend, family member, acquaintance, even a stranger, and he or she says, “Hi, how are you?”

Your response: “I’m doing pretty well today but I’m not sure if you know what’s going on with my (family or friend).

“(Describe relationship and give name) has (4-8 word description of diagnosis). That really harms your (liver or kidneys). (His/her liver or kidneys is/are) failing. (His/her) best chance is to find a living donor. Friends and family are being tested but there is no available donor. Can you help me by sharing this information?”

Immediately give information cards.