I Don't Know Emily. But I've Met Her Kidney - and I'm Following it on Twitter.
You should too. Here's why...
A few nights ago I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and this tweet caught my eye: "I'm now also following a kidney, this could be very odd :P "
There was a follow-up. From the kidney. "What? Your internal organs don't tweet?"
Which had me in hysterics. I figured this was just a twist on the whole "my pet has its own Twitter account" bit, you know, now we're going to body parts. The avatar of @EmilysKidney was cracking me up - it's like an MS Paint picture of a kidney. Just this orangey-brown, hand-drawn, kidney.
That is the avatar. It could be a yam. So I'm looking at this, kidney, EmilysKidney, and reading these tweets, and decided I needed to follow because it would be funny. Out of curiosity, I went to look at @EmilysKidney's profile. Then read through her tweets. Wow. I couldn't have been more wrong about what this was all about.
My new, yam-like internal-organ-of-comedy friend, is, in reality, an account created by a friend of a beautiful young woman named, Emily.
What, you thought it would be Sue?
I don't know Emily. But the persona of her "kidney" is hilarious and as I read through the tweets I was able to piece together the story. Emily, needs a kidney. The one she has at the moment was donated by her mother 10 years ago but is no longer working so she needs a new one. There are no matches in her family so she now has to rely on strangers who might want to be a donor. Problem is, living organ donation doesn't work quite the same way as say, The National Bone Marrow Registry, where there is a nation-wide bank of potential donor info for doctors to check for a match. If Emily is to find her new kidney, people have to choose to be tested specifically for her to see if they might be a match.
So how does she do this? How does she find herself a kidney when most of the rest of the world doesn't know she needs one, possibly from them? Her very smart friend(s) turned to social media to get the word out. And I think it's BRILLIANT! What better way to reach huge numbers of people you don't know.
The idea behind @EmilysKidney on Twitter (and also Facebook!) is that Emily's Kidney is currently in someone else's body. She just doesn't know whose. So maybe you'd like to know if you have Emily's kidney? And there you go, she tweets and links the information about how to find out if you could be a match as well as being very funny. The more people that follow, the more awareness is raised. Not just for a potential donor for Emily, but for living organ donation in general.
I friended (wow, I actually used that as a real verb...) Ms Kidney on Facebook (I also refer to her as Twidney, since I had "Twitter Kidney" running around in my head most of the night). I don't really know what it was, but something about this really just hit me. Aside from knowing her friends' idea was incredibly smart, I wanted to help. Smart as it is, it won't work if the word doesn't get out to as many people as possible.
In my current circumstances, I can't be a donor, logistically it just isn't feasible. And turns out I wouldn't match anyway, I have the wrong blood type. So I know I don't have Emily's Kidney. But I can help raise awareness and maybe even reach people who think they could be a donor because I can write about it. And with Emily and her kidney's permission, that is exactly what I'm doing.
Emily spends 4 hours a day, 3 days a week on dialysis. She has been waiting 3 years for a new kidney.
You can read more of her story here http://www.stlbeacon.org/health-science/health/107749-sharing-gift-of-life-with-kidney-transplants
Follow @EmilysKidney on Twitter and/or friend Emily's Kidney on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001938447330#!/profile.php?id=100001938447330&sk=info to help raise awareness, and hopefully find out who out there has her kidney!
Tell your friends. Tell your family. Tell everybody. You never know who is out there just waiting to bring Emily's kidney to her...
Another helpful link: http://www.kidney.org/transplantation/livingDonors/info.cfm
And from the kidney herself: "If you would like more information and maybe even are ready to take the first step towards being tested as a donor, call Barnes Transplant Offices at 314-362-5365 and tell them you are interested in helping out Emily McFarland! They'll take good care of you!"
*Edited for content and re-printed from my personal blog http://planetjosh.squarespace.com*