Over in Oskaloosa, Iowa, a man who has been the recipient of three kidney transplants decided to take his gratitude and put it into action by providing care packages to patients awaiting kidneys.
In July 2021, the local KCCI News reported on Shane Blanchard and his unorthodox search to find a kidney donor.
Shane Blanchard has to have a living kidney donor. That’s because his antibodies are so high from multiple blood transfusions.
He’s facing an upward battle trying to find a match. Blanchard’s blood type is AB+, which means he can accept anyone’s blood or organs. That’s the easy part.
He says the hard part is finding that one person who fits the rest of the criteria. He’s using social media to get the word out, while finding his calling in life, advocating for others in need of a donor.
Blanchard says it takes a positive attitude and strong support from loved ones to live with kidney failure.
Blanchard is right about needing the strong support of loved ones. The health crisis of kidney failure is not an easy one to navigate, and has been one that has hit close to my home. My mother was on dialysis in the year before she passed away in 2001. She suffered from Alzheimer’s, but it was ultimately the renal failure that did her in. One of my closest friend’s brother was in kidney failure, and it was years of dialysis, waiting, and praying before a donor was found. In March, one of my nephews died from complications of the disease. So, Shane Blanchard’s exceptionally positive attitude, his determination to live, as well as his drive to pay it forward to others who are experiencing what he experienced, is worth a Feel-Good Friday story.
In 2022, Blanchard’s social media search resulted in him finding a cousin who was willing to donate his kidney. As a result of this gift, Blanchard wanted to do something to help others waiting on their miracle gift of life:
Shane Blanchard has undergone three kidney transplants and was inspired to help those like him.
On Monday, Blanchard and his coworkers packed care packages to be distributed later this week to dialysis centers.
Blanchard said when he first received his diagnosis, he felt lost but now his goal is to remind others going through the same health struggles that they are not alone.
“It’s really to help those on Dialysis just to make time go by a little smoother and to help them be a little more comfortable. And there’s a little bit of educational material that’s a part of this as well,” Blanchard said.
Blanchard doesn’t plan on stopping here. He created a non-profit called, Midwest Kidney Warriors, whose goal is to advocate for patients awaiting kidneys, and to help them connect with potential donors.