April is National Donate Life Month and the IGA Nephropathy Foundation of America would like to encourage people to consider being a kidney donor.
We are excited to have Alex Berrios, an IGAN transplant patient conduct these interviews. Below is Alex’s BIO.
Greetings My name is Alex Berrios. I serve a patient services advocate with the University of Kentucky. I am a 13-year kidney transplant recipient and my goal is to help patients at all stages of their kidney disease understand the process of getting a Kidney transplant. I am interested in understanding where the patient is in their thinking about receiving a transplant. I am here to talk with patients, caregivers, and their medical team to discuss all options from direct transplantation to possibly looking at the paired exchange program. I also encourage patients to consider the living donor program as well.
I have been involved in different avenues in the Kidney space from grassroots lobbying to help bring to the forefront some issues about individuals with Kidney disease, from Immunosuppressive coverage for the life of the kidney transplant to protecting Living donors from any type of discrimination.
I am here to help answer any questions, myths or concerns about the prospects of getting a kidney transplant. My areas of strength are trying to ensure the patients I talk with have the best possible experience they can have through advocating and open communication about the transplant process.>
I look forward to working with you and helping you along this journey.
Glenn is part of “a chain of love”, in that he started by wanting to donate to firefighter Heather Kantor, but because they weren’t a match, they were put into the national kidney pool. Heather ended up getting her kidney from a woman in the pool named Breelyn Horn and Glenn’s kidney went to Mike Atkinson. Mike Atkinson’s original donor was Emory Fuqua, but her’s was too small for Mike. Instead of going to Mike, it went to a person in Colorado, saving another life. This was the start of a chain that has saved multiple people’s lives and created lifelong relationships.
Today, Glenn lives in sunny San Diego as does his recipient Mike. Although Glenn didn’t know Mike before the surgery, and didn’t live in the same city at the time of surgery, they have become close friends.