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Kidney Transplant Fundraising Basics

Kidney transplants are the most common organ transplant performed in America, and coincidentally, a common reason people decide to start a medical fundraiser. It can be hard for outsiders to realize what kind of impact getting a kidney transplant can have on an individual, so we’ve put together this page to make it easier.

Some stats and numbers to start you off

More than 26 million Americans—that’s one in 9 adults—suffer from kidney disease. Of those 26 million, more than 99,000 were waiting for a kidney transplant at the beginning of 2014, according to the National Kidney Foundation. That’s a lot of people facing a lot of expenses.

Disease is that annoying guy who shows up to the party uninvited

The thing about disease is it doesn’t care about your plans. It doesn’t care that you just put down that payment on the house of your dreams, or that you finally got a job after being unemployed for a year, or that you decided to go back to school again. It doesn’t wait for a good time to come into your life, because let’s face it, there is no good time for disease to come into your life.

Yet every month, an additional 2,500 patients with kidney disease will be added to a transplant waiting list and have to deal with a whole list of expenses, from preliminary testing, surgery, and postoperative care.

What exactly are those expenses?

Expenses for kidney transplant patients include:

  • pre-transplant evaluation and testing (including all those trips to the doctor, treatment and tests)
  • the surgery itself (including surgeon and operating room staff fees and anesthesia)
  • time spent in the ICU (patients usually stay there after surgery and sometimes before)
  • organ recovery
  • housing and meals for family members while their loved one is hospitalized
  • post-op physical therapy and rehab
  • medications (including anti-rejection drugs for post-op care) has estimated the total costs of a kidney transplant add up to a whopping $262,900, a cost most Americans can’t afford to pay.

Some possible kidney transplant fundraising solutions

Despite having insurance, few patients will be able to afford to pay all their kidney transplant expenses from one source, so they will have to branch out to raise money for their treatment. Some of the most popular sources of extra funding include:

  • private insurance
  • Medicare ( and Medi-Cal (
  • CHAMPVA for those in the military and public health service (
  • Veterans Administration Benefits
  • Social Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)
  • charitable organizations and fundraising campaigns

Fundraising campaigns for kidney transplant patients

One easy way to supplement funding for a kidney transplant is to start an online fundraising campaign for a loved one. People have raised millions of dollars to cover kidney transplant expenses using online fundraising platforms, which has helped many pay off those piles of medical bills.

But on top of easing the financial burden, online fundraising campaigns also create a tangible support network for people dealing with disease, helping them deal with the sense of isolation disease can produce. Fundraising team members can share photos and updates of the beneficiary over a variety of platforms, including email and social media, extending the reach of the fundraiser and crossing geographic boundaries to create a wide net of supporters.

So while you can’t control when kidney disease decides to show up to the party, your crew can make sure kidney disease doesn’t kill it.


Need Help Creating a Fundraiser? Start a Crowdfunding Campaign on GiveForward, and We’ll Help You Through the Process!

GiveForward is the first place to turn when you or someone you love is facing a challenge. It’s the central rallying place for giving and receiving meaningful support. From sending a simple “Thinking of You” to raising money for out-of-pocket expenses, GiveForward empowers anyone to build a community and take action when it counts.

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