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5 Tips for Being Interviewed About Your Living Kidney Donor Search

Samantha Hil, Microsite Project Manager

If you are a kidney patient searching for a living kidney donor, sharing your story through interviews can be a powerful way to raise awareness and potentially find a match. If someone asks to interview you about your donor search, whether for a print or online article, a TV spot, or a podcast, these five tips will help you be prepared and make the most of the opportunity.

1. Write Down Talking Points

You may be thinking, “This is my story—why would I need to make notes about it?” You may think you’ll be comfortable improvising when discussing your story, but an interview situation can make you feel pressured or nervous. Writing down a few key points in advance can keep you focused on your message and prevent you from forgetting important information. Include things like why you need a kidney transplant, why your friends or family are not able to donate, the health challenges you are experiencing, and how your life would change if you were to receive a living donor transplant. You don’t need to write a whole script or even use full sentences—in fact, it’s best to avoid being too specific so you don’t sound rehearsed. Instead, jot down three to five key words or phrases to remind you of the points you want to cover.

2. Be Honest and Transparent

Authenticity is key when sharing your story. Be honest about your experiences, emotions, and the realities of living with kidney disease. This builds trust with your audience and helps them feel connected to you, which makes them more likely to want to share your story or potentially even donate on your behalf.

3. Don’t Mention Your Blood Type

It’s important to convey that if someone wants to be your donor, they do not have to be a match for you, so don’t tell the interviewer your blood type, even if they ask for it. If you mention your blood type, anyone who does not have that blood type is likely to tune out your message, thinking that they can’t help. Be sure to emphasize that when you donate through the National Kidney Registry, anyone who is approved as a donor can donate on your behalf.

4. Focus on Education

Use the interview as an opportunity to educate others about living kidney donation and the importance of organ donation. Be sure to emphasize that people have two kidneys and only need one to live and that people can donate one of their kidneys to someone else and still live a long, healthy life with no lifestyle changes required. Share facts and statistics about kidney disease, transplantation, the shortage of living donors, and how kidneys from living donors tend to last longer and have better transplant outcomes than those from deceased donors. By raising awareness, you may inspire others to consider becoming living donors or registering as living donors.

5. Talk About Donor Supports

People have many reasons for not becoming donors. Some people can’t afford to take time off work or may not be able to pay for childcare. In your interview, it’s important to let people know about Donor Shield, which offers up to $18,000 in financial assistance for living donors, including lost wage reimbursement and reimbursement for travel and lodging expenses as well as care for children or adult dependents. Donor Shield also includes a wide range of other supports, including the opportunity to speak to a living donor, complications coverage, kidney prioritization, remote donation, and much more. Encourage people to visit www.donor-shield.org for more information.

6. Share Your Microsite URL

Your microsite is an invaluable resource that includes a substantial amount of information for donors, plus an easy way to help them register to be screened as your donor. Be sure to share your personalized microsite URL and encourage viewers/readers/listeners to visit your microsite to learn more about you and about living donation.