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How you can be a hero

() - February 23, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - You can be hero tomorrow — or even today, if you really want to. And the good news is, you don’t have to jump over tall buildings or have superpowers.

“Waiting for a ride or for late friends is enough to make people impatient — what more if what you were waiting for is a chance to live?” This question was posed by Karen May Abu, a 25-year-old patient diagnosed with systemic lupus which eventually led to her suffering from end stage renal disease (ESRD).

 Karen’s kidneys were more than 85-percent damaged and despite this medical urgency, she had to wait for six long years to have them replaced. Because she had been on dialysis for a long time, Karen had already received so much blood products from various blood donors (about 3,000 bags of platelet concentrate alone because of her medical condition). Because of this, she had developed antibodies that make most organ donors incompatible with her body. In short, she had an almost zero chance of finding a compatible donor.

  Meanwhile, Violeta Tandoc, a 63-year-old teacher from the UP-Integrated School who has also been diagnosed with ESRD, shares that aside from the patient, other people, especially the immediate family is affected as well.

Violeta adds, “Financially, it was very difficult because we were in the midst of a crisis as a result of a failed business. My husband suddenly was out of job and my two children were still in high school. My meager salary as a teacher was not even enough for our daily needs. What more for my medical expenses?”

But despite the difficulties they encountered, both Karen and Violeta were eventually given a second chance at life — all because of an organ donor who gave them a shot at an organ transplant. However, Dr. Angel Joaquin Amante, transplant surgeon of Karen/president and COO of the Integrated Program on Organ Donation (IPOD) says that both Karen and Violeta were the lucky ones.

 According to the Philippine Renal Disease Registry, 5,000 Filipinos who develop end stage renal disease are suitable kidney transplant candidates, but only 10 percent are actually transplanted locally because of insufficient organ supply.

With this in mind, Dr. Amante and a select group of physicians of various specialties initiated IPOD or the Integrated Program on Organ Donation. IPOD is a non-stock, non-profit and non-government organ retrieval service provider. A highly ethical organization, it commits to follow deceased organ donation and allocation based on currently accepted international standards. The organization also aspires to enhance public awareness and acceptance of deceased organ donation.

 “You can’t bring your organs to heaven,” quips Dr. Amante. “But kidding aside, your death can mean a new life to those in the organ waiting list.” He explains that one deceased donor can provide two kidneys and one liver.  This would translate to extending the life of three persons with end stage organ disease

 Meanwhile, at the macro level, developing a deceased donor program will help solve the issues on organ selling and human trafficking.

 “Imagine the impact that your organ donation can bring to the thousands of Karens and Violetas. You can change their lives; you can literally be a hero,” asserts the IPOD president. “The world needs all the heroes it can get — and there’s no better time than now to be an organ donor.”

To know more about IPOD, call 416-IPOD (4673)/238-6087 or log on to www.ipodonation.org.

DR. AMANTE DR. ANGEL JOAQUIN AMANTE INTEGRATED PROGRAM INTEGRATED SCHOOL KAREN AND VIOLETA KAREN MAY ABU KARENS AND VIOLETAS ORGAN ORGAN DONATION PHILIPPINE RENAL DISEASE REGISTRY
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