TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Every nine minutes another person is added to the national transplant waiting list.
On that list is Bonnie McNair. A wife, daughter, mother, friend, librarian, and soon-to-be grandmother. Like so many on the list, Bonnie has had to put her pride aside in an effort to find a living donor.
“I guess my story starts back in 2019,” Bonnie said. “I was just feeling tired all the time.”
After several tests, Bonnie was eventually diagnosed with stage 3b chronic kidney disease.
“From there, you’re supposed to have months, years, and just gradually decline. Well, I sort of went ahead of the curb, just blew through stage four and all the sudden I was at stage 5, which the doctor says is end-stage renal failure.”
In May of 2022, Bonnie started dialysis.
“Peritoneal dialysis or ‘PD’ is what I affectionately call it.”
With the help of her husband, Bonnie does dialysis from home.
“It takes me about 10 hours every night from start to finish. I do it every day of the week, so that’s about seventy hours.”
Bonnie remains active on the wait list for her life-saving transplant. And she is not alone.
According to Kelly Tremain, President and CEO of the Indiana Donor Network, “Currently there is over 100,000 people waiting Nationally for a lifesaving organ transplant. There’s a little over 1,000 waiting in Indiana alone.”
Bonnie said a transplant is her best option. “I have two grown kids and we’re expecting my first grandchild in October. So, getting a transplant is really the best option for me and for all of my other people in the Wabash Valley that are on the transplant list.”
Tremain added that the wait time for a kidney can take three to four years.
“I’m a very private person,” Bonnie said. “But this is something where I need help. I need people to hear and to think, ‘hey, I’ve got two kidneys, I could give one, and what an impact it would make in that person’s life.'”
While the Indiana Donor Network doesn’t handle the living donor side, they always advocate for it, “Any type of opportunity that anybody can bring their own living kidney donor to the table certainly helps them get off the list much faster,” Tremain said.
Bonnie said it’s a donation that’s really personal, “It has so many positive aspects of it. And you’re really helping not just the one person, the recipient, but everybody else on the list.”
By signing up to be an organ donor at end-of-life Tremain said, “One donor can save up to 8 lives through organ donation. And hundreds of lives through tissue donation.”
The decision to become an organ and tissue donor is a decision to give the gift of life. Tremain said there are several ways to sign up to become an organ donor.
- Visiting the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV)
- Online at Donate Life Indiana
- Apple users can register through the Apple Health app on their device
- When applying for a hunting or fishing license
For those who apply online at Donate Life Indiana, the process is said to take about two minutes. You can also sign up.
To become a living donor to help Bonnie or one of the others waiting on a lifesaving kidney transplant, you register directly with the patient’s transplant facility. Bonnie’s team is IU Health. According to its website, IU Health has been performing kidney transplants for over 50 years, transplanting more than 200 kidneys each year. They have a living kidney donation program for individuals who wish to donate a kidney to someone they know, like Bonnie, or to someone anonymously. Visit their website to learn more or to start the questionnaire. You can mention Bonnie McNair specifically on your form.