You can help 12.5 million people

Remember that blog post I wrote about the Starbucks barista who donated her kidney? Well, someone very industrious has now decided to appeal to Starbucks to help individuals living with Polycystic Kidney Disease, which is actually the most common life-threatening genetic disease, affecting 12.5 million people worldwide.

So you can guess what this blog post is going to be about…telling you to support the cause as well!

What is this PKD you speak of?!
There is no treatment and no cure. There are options for treating the symptoms, which include high blood pressure, frequent urinary tract infections, and pain in the kidneys. I have two of the three, and my father, who also has PKD, has experienced the pain part. All I know from that experience is that he imagines it to be worse than giving birth — and my mom agrees.

Of course, the end result of PKD is end stage renal disease (ESRD) and there are only two treatments for that — transplantation or dialysis. Both scary, both expensive, and neither very fun.

I will be honest, in many cases, individuals don’t know they have PKD until they are in their adult lives and often the symptoms can be managed with good health care. But, we all know the state of health care in our nation, so that’s not always an option. And even with good care, ESRD is still a real possibility as well as passing the gene on to children.

In addition to that form, there is another, rarer form of PKD that affects infants at birth. According to the PKD Foundation, “…this form often causes significant mortality in the first month of life. If the child survives the newborn period, the chances of survival are good. For these children, approximately one-third will need dialysis or transplantation by the age of 10.” So, though they survive infancy, their fight is far from over.

I’m an even rarer exception. I have the more common form of PKD, but it was manifested at birth instead of in adulthood. I can’t tell you all the specifics, but all I know is I was sick at birth and my parents baptized me when I was about 2 days old because my chance of survival was so slim. That fear continued for my parents well into grade school, when I think they finally stopped listening to the doctors.

All of this doesn’t even take into account the genetic repercussions. With the form I have, I have a 50/50 chance of passing the disease on with every pregnancy I have. It really makes me think if I want to knowingly impose the disease on my offspring. 12.5 million people struggle with the same decisions.

So, PKD is not so fun.

Help is a button click away!
After hearing the Starbucks barista story, someone contacted Starbucks, which is currently asking consumers for input on programs it should implement in its stores. The idea is to have Starbucks agree to donate a penny per every cup of coffee or tea sold to PKD research. The Starbucks program includes a voting component, so once ideas are submitted, the public can vote. This idea is currently toward the top of the list, but could use your votes to take it all the way to the top!

Log on here to cast your vote. (Disclaimer: You do have to create a username to vote. I tried to be a pal and create one name that I would pass on to my readers so they could use it and not get spammed. But alas, it appears you can only vote once per item per username. But I have yet to receive spam and besides, don’t we all have an e-mail that we use mainly for stuff like this so we don’t have to sift through spam that comes as a result? If not, you should, you tech savvy people!)



Filed under family values, transplant

2 responses to “You can help 12.5 million people

  1. Thanks for posting about this! I have signed up and voted and made a post to my own blog about this as well to try to drum up even more support.

  2. Andrea Drauch

    I’m the 24,500th vote!

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