25 February 2010

Be a Hero with IPOD

Be a Hero with IPOD
You can be hero tomorrow—even today if you really want to. And the good news is, jumping over tall buildings, speaking in tongues or having superpowers is not a requirement. "Waiting for a ride or for late friends would already make people impatient—what more if what you were waiting for is a chance to live?" This is the questioned 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 or ESRD.

And just what made Karen impatient? Her 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 has already received so much blood products from various blood donors (about 3000 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.

And the long wait took its toll on her emotionally. "It's like you can't see the world anymore. No, actually you can—but it’s more like you don’t want to look at it. The long wait is always frustrating and sometimes depressing,” relays Karen when asked about what it felt like to be on the waiting list.

Meanwhile, Violeta Tandoc, a 63-year-old teacher from the University of the Philippines-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.

"It was easily the saddest moment of our life. And the people most affected by my struggle was of course, my immediate family—my husband and two children," shares Violeta. "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?"

She adds that the process of getting help—both from the government and private institutions—was frustrating as well. "One has to go through the usual red tape and it usually takes several days of going back and forth before one gets assistance." Seeing other people with the same plight as hers made it even worse. "Seeing fellow needy people waiting and standing along the corridors for the whole day looking weak and hungry also made me weak and sick. It was really a depressing experience."

But despite the difficulties they encountered, both Karen and Violeta were eventually given second chance at life - all because of an organ donor who gave them a shot at an organ transplant.

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. Angel Joaquin Amante and a select group of physicians of various specialties initiated IPOD or Integrated Program on Organ Donation. IPOD was organized in response to the growing disparity between living and deceased 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.

To know more about IPOD, call (0632) 416-IPOD (4673), (0632) 238-6087, or log on to www.ipodonation.org.