In 2019, the Fresenius Medical Care Foundation (the Foundation) announced a grant to the National Kidney Foundation’s “THE BIG ASK: THE BIG GIVE” (“BABG”) program, with the intent to grow the number of cities offering the program by 15 and increase kidney transplantation and living donation. Nearly 20% of patients who have participated in a BABG program reported that they received a life-saving kidney transplant one year after the program. This contrasts with only 7.49% of waitlisted kidney patients who received a living donor transplant in 2019 according to the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network.
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and local transplant centers taught kidney patients, and their families and friends, how to share their story to make a “big ask” to their friends, loved ones, or community to consider making a “big give,” a living kidney donation. A main component of the BABG is a panel of living donors and transplant recipients who share their stories, answer questions, and provide hope to participants. Each attendee leaves with a customized action plan of next steps along with resources for ongoing engagement.
“As kidney transplant is the best option for those living with kidney failure, it’s exciting to see how THE BIG ASK: THE BIG GIVE program is successfully transforming so many lives,” said Bill Valle, CEO of Fresenius Medical Care North America and President of the Foundation. “The Fresenius Medical Care Foundation was created to help the patients, families, and communities most greatly impacted by kidney disease, and I am proud of these great results.”
In addition to the participants who reported receiving the life-sustaining kidney donation from a living donor, 67% of patient respondents said that at least one person stepped forward to be evaluated as a living donor. When asked if the workshop helped participants to feel more comfortable talking to others about the possibility of living donation, 98% responded ‘yes.’ Lastly, all participants revealed that their knowledge of living donation and transplant expanded because of the BABG.
“The Fresenius Medical Care Foundation’s generosity in helping us to expand THE BIG ASK: THE BIG GIVE programs, shows a shared and deep commitment to improving and saving the lives of kidney patients,” said Kevin Longino, NKF CEO and a kidney transplant patient for nearly 15 years. “THE BIG ASK: THE BIG GIVE has been a game changer. We encourage patients who are scared, overwhelmed, and frankly, too humble to ask someone to give them a kidney, to let us show them how.”
The BABG program continues despite temporary transplant center closures and a pause on in-person events due to the pandemic, which slowed down kidney transplants and created delays within hospitals in evaluating potential donors.
To learn more about THE BIG ASK: THE BIG GIVE, visit kidney.org/livingdonation.