2020 has just been such a weird year! It’s actually been a really good year for me, and has brought about a lot of positive change in my life. I really value the opportunity to have pushed the reset button on everything, and feel… RESET. That’s what I am grateful for this year on Thanksgiving. On my Zoom Thanksgiving with these guys who I love….
This Thanksgiving week marked my 4 year donorversary! I am happy to report that as one should expect I am still healthy and have no issues stemming from donating. I am healthier now then when I donated.
Here is what I am looking forward to in the world of organ donation as we launch into 2021!
Creating a Living Donor Data Base
This month, our Abundant production concluded an extensive series of surveys on non-directed kidney donors. We sought out information and revelations about the invisible cultural and sociological influences common to non-directed kidney donors. Our goal with the surveys is to find sociological commonalities in the backgrounds of participating donors and their family of origins. Once we identify the common threads and trends, we will dig deeper into the areas that are most interesting/ telling of important information. What we find in these surveys will feed the content of Abundant.
Amazingly, we have over 120 non directed donors participating in this extensive survey. Why is that amazing? Because that’s actually the biggest survey completed to date on non directed donors! There really aren’t a lot of studies done on non directed donors, or organ donors in general for that matter. That’s kind of problematic if we want to understand the long term effects of donating an organ.
I expect that we can double our sample size of participants for our survey, and really gather some interesting information about donors. What we are doing with our data for Abundant is in not academic research, and we have an opportunity here to build a bridge for the people who want to do academic research, so we will. The long term plan will be to create a non directed donor, and directed donor database. There will be an opt-in process for donors to join. The details of what organization would eventually hold and manage the database is in the works. Abigail Marsh is a psychology professor who HAS done some really amazing research on non directed donors. She discovered that non-directed donors tend to have an enlarged amygdala, where as a psychopath has a shrunken one. Interesting, right? The goal is to make a willing sample of donors available for studies like this so that there is more research out there about the effects of organ donation- that’s just going to help prospective donors make informed decisions.
More than 75 non-directed kidney donors have auditioned for CrowdSource for Life: Storytellers, the TED-style storytelling show Maitri River Productions is producing for unique content for Abundant. The live performance will be staged when it ’s safe to gather for a live show, sometime in 2021. Until then, we will work toward developing the show and finding sponsors to fund the show, while working with the chosen storytellers to develop their stories.
In reading the stories and talking to all of the donors who want to participate, we have come up with an outlet for the donors who do not get selected for the storytelling show to get to tell their story. We are starting a donor Podcast!
Our podcast will use first-hand narrative from kidney donors as the basis for addressing topics relevant to kidney donor advocacy. It will be entertaining, informative, and will make a positive and realistic contribution to the kidney donation conversation. It will also be a fun and inspiring outlet for donors to tell their stories.
I know nothing about podcasts other than I can get sucked into one and sit in a parking lot for an extra 15 minutes waiting for an episode to finish before I go into the grocery store. My brother-n law Geoff Lee of Hippie Wicked Radio will be helping us get this launched, but I am wide open to pointers, tips and support if this is your area of expertise and you are interested in helping!
Unrelated to Abundant, but also fun new territory was the launch of our new company this year, SwiftLink Worldwide. As you can imagine, our passport and visa business dried up more than a little bit with travel coming to a halt this year, so we diversified. Under our new brand we now offer shipping services, virtual mail services, physical mailboxes, FBI fingerprinting and more. We are also dabbling in printing services
In the Kidney Champion Program, a big part of what we cover is the importance of creating a mini marketing campaign to help find a living kidney donor. In addition to using social media, this includes print items such as “kidney card,” flyers to hang on public boards, car decals, yard signs, and more and other tangible items that spread awareness. There are tons of stories in the news about people finding kidneys this way. My friend Robin just donated her kidney after seeing the same car in her townhouse parking garage day after day with a car decal in the window that said “need a kidney donor, save a life.” She finally called the number on the decal, and 6 weeks later was donating her kidney (during COVID)!
To kick off our printing services, we created a one stop shop for people who participate in our KCP, and for anyone else looking for marketing materials for their Kidney Campaign. We are trying to make it as easy as possible for the people who take our program to quickly connect to the resources they need for a successful kidney campaign. Now, if they chose, they can order all or some of the marketing materials we talk about in the program in 1 place, from the same folks they took the program with, and they don’t have to be good with technology to do it! We will be splitting the proceeds of these orders with Transplant Village. We are working on finalizing our prices which will be competitive, but here is the one stop shop in progress.
As this catches on, we plan to start adding additional designs and products to our website that will support Kidney Campaigns. Our 2.0 version will also include a collaboration with my soul sister/marketing guru Amber. She’s launching a new company that offers a unique solution for our
participants to run successful social media campaigns. Having helped run a few of these campaigns for people seeking kidneys, I personally had a hard time doing it and ran out of things to say and struggled to come up with quality posts. Her solution (which is still top secret) takes the thinking out of the posting and makes it painless. Between her tool and our one stop shop, literally any family seeking a kidney would be able to employ every strategy that we promote in our program with minimal effort. I think it’s going to add a lot of value to the program and am really excited about it.
Lots of exciting things to look forward to this year!
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and week of gratitude.