Recipient of kidney transplant raises awareness of need for more donors

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In the year since James Humphreys left the hospital with a new kidney, he has helped bring awareness to the need for living donors.

"I feel fantastic. Not 100 percent but, much, much better than I was," Humphreys said.

Doug Ostler, transplant coordinator with University Health Care, guided Humphreys through the transplant process.  He says there are more than 200 patients on the University's waiting list that need kidney transplants.

"With James coming forward and talking about it, then we saw a big increase in the number of people coming forward willing to donate not only to their loved ones but also to just to help our area in general," Ostler said.

Humphreys called everyone he knew, asking about donating. He pummeled doctors with questions and he helped the University streamline some processes.

He also called a political reporter he know, inviting FOX 13 into the painful and personal process.

"This is very personal. I mean you saw me in some of my most compromising positions for heaven's sakes," Humphreys said.

FOX 13 followed Humphreys through his transplant process. He was 39 and in kidney failure.

"I thought, man, I'm not even forty and I'm already facing my own mortality, what in the world's going on here, so Patrick literally doubled my life expectancy," Humphreys said.

Patrick is James' donor. He is an old college friend, and now a brother, Humphreys said.

The University of Utah and Intermountain Health Care continue to look for more living donors.

"We add more than double the number of people to the waiting list every year than we actually transplant," Ostler said.

There are two transplant center in the Salt Lake valley; one at the University of Utah and one at the Intermountain Medical Center. Both give donors extensive physical check-ups before approving them to donate.

For more information about kidney donations visit the links below.

University of Utah Health Care Kidney Transplant Program

Intermountain Health Care Kidney Transplant Program

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