WRITE YOUR STORY
NOTE: I regret that I am unable to accept additonal donor-search stories at this time. If you have not yet made a page on Facebook for your living-donor search, you can find directions for doing so here. You can also find a great deal of information on how to find a donor in the "For Donor Searchers" section of this site as well as on the LKDS Tools & Tips site. Feel free to keep checking back, as this may be only a temporary situation. SK
You don't have to be a professional writer to produce a good story. By reading each of the steps below and following them carefully, your story will write itself. Don't worry about grammar and punctuation. As a former textbook author and editor, I'm happy to polish your story for you. I do spend 4 - 6 hours creating each person's page, though, so by including everything the directions ask for, you make my job easier and enable me to help you find a donor more quickly.
Length: The ideal length is between 400 and 500 words, not counting spaces. (Most word-processing programs will automatically count for you.) Absolute maximum word count is 675 words. Otherwise, most readers will decide that the story is too long and skip on to another one. Even 675 words is pushing it--many readers simply will not take the time. In addition, a too-long story creates a great deal of extra work for me because I must then shorten it...possibly cutting something you really wanted included. Please do not submit stories of more than 675 words.
Facebook Users: If you intend to send a copy of what you've already written for the "about" section of a Facebook page as your story, please read it carefully before sending to make sure you've included all the details below.
Here's what to include:
1. Begin with some type of greeting. Following that, tell your name, age, and the city and state where you reside.
2. Include a little personal information: Whether you are married or have childen (including their first names and ages), what you’re interested in, how you spend your time, and so on. If you work, briefly describe what you do; if you are no longer working, tell what you used to do. (And yes, raising children is work!) It doesn’t have to be long or detailed; just enough to let people know you as more than a name on a computer screen. The more personal your story, the more likely someone will be to volunteer.
3. Tell what led to your needing a kidney. Whatever your disease, briefly explain it in a sentence or two. For example, if you have glomerulonephtritis, you might say, "Glomerulonephritis is a disease in which the kidneys' tiny filters become inflamed and can't filter waste from the body." Look the definition up if you need to, but keep it short and simple.
Avoid using "buzz words" and abbreviations that the general public does not know. For example, most people have no idea what creatinine, peritoneal, stage 4, PKD, GFR, or even CKD mean. Write your story as if you're speaking to someone who doesn't know the first thing about kidney disease, dialysis, donation, or transplant. Chances are, they don't.
4. If you’ve had a previous transplant, briefly mention the reason for needing another one.
5. Tell how long you’ve been on the transplant waiting list and how long you've been on dialysis (or how soon you will need to start). Also tell how long the waiting list is in your area of the country.
6. Your blood type and the blood types of people who can donate to you. However, if your center does paired or chain matching, be sure to mention that someone of any blood type can donate. Otherwise, people may think their blood type must match yours and immediately dismiss the possibility of donating to you.
7. Contact information for testing: Name both the transplant center and the living donor coordinator's name. (The living donor coordinator is not necessarily your coordinator.) Not everyone has free long-distance, so be sure to include an 800-number. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! Every hoop that you require potential donors to jump through is also an opportunity for them to change their minds! Please do not send a story without an 800-number. If you would like me to create a link to your transplant center, please supply the center's internet address. If your center has an online intake form for potential donors, mention it and give the internet address (not just the center's address; the address of the form itself). If your transplant center is a university, write out the entire name the first time you use it rather than something like UA or U of A. (University of Arkansas? Arizona? Alabama? Alaska? Albany?)
8. Whether you want to share your personal contact information is up to you. For privacy and protection, you may wish to use an e-mail address separate from your personal address. I don't recommend giving a telephone number. Remember that there are scammers and people attempting to sell organs illegally on the internet. (By the way, if you are contacted by someone living outside the U.S., or Canada, it's a 99.9% guaranteee that the person is trying to try to sell you a kidney illegally. Do not respond!)
9. If you have a Facebook kidney-search page and/or a newspaper or TV station has done a story about you, mention them, along with the title(s) and internet address(es). I can create links to them for you.
10. Conclude your story with a heartfelt plea and a sincere thank you. You don't want to beg, but you need to ask people to consider donating to you! Tell what you hope for your future or in what way a transplant will change your life. Finally, thank your viewers for reading your story and considering the possibility of donation. (Don't copy these words...you don't want your story to end the same as everyone else's.) After completing your story, PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE click on the "Story Checklist" below and use it to be sure you've included everything. Then, don't forget to keep clicking the links at the bottom of each page until you read the one titled "After Your Page is Published." Otherwise, you and I will spend a lot of unnecessary time e-mailing back and forth so that I can get your complete information, acceptable photos, etc.
Remember, your story will reach thousands more people by being posted both here and on the Living Kidney Donor Search Facebook page. The Facebook page is also the place where important information about this site is announced. If you haven't already done so, you can join the LKDS Facebook page by clicking HERE right now.
Go to Step 2: Story Checklist