LIVINGSTON, NJ — Gail Korkhin, a 30-year Livingston resident, is in desperate need of a kidney after the 59-year-old’s nephrologist advised her that her kidney is only functioning at 10 percent and that she will need to begin dialysis soon without a transplant.
Korkhin contracted kidney disease several years ago as a result of a long-term medication she was taking.
She and her husband, Boris, were told that it could take up to seven years for a kidney to become available, as there are only six transplant centers and one procurement center in New Jersey. Gail also has a rare blood type of B positive, making it even more difficult to find a match.
To complicate matters further, Gail explained that kidney transplants are considered elective surgeries, meaning that her search for a donor has been at a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Trying to find a donor has been exhausting and takes all of my energy,” said Gail, whose goal has been to find a “live” kidney donor because live kidneys function twice as long as those harvested from deceased donors.
In this case, the donor will also not have to pay for the medical procedure.
“Gail’s insurance company will cover all of the donor’s medical expenses,” said her husband, Boris, who hopes to see his wife get a transplant as soon as possible so they can get back to walking, traveling, home decorating and some of their other favorite activities.
Gail is currently on the waiting list at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, whose Compatible Share Program has a database of patients and willing donors. Although the donors’ blood types aren’t always compatible with the patients’, Boris explained that the cross-match program reduces waiting time and enables willing donors to donate to someone else.
For example, if Gail has a willing donor whose blood type does not match her own, that person may be able to donate to someone else. This also means it’s possible someone else in the database could have the same blood type as Gail.
Additionally, Gail recently signed up with the Brooklyn-based Renewal program, which helps transplant patients coordinate all stages of the transplant process from finding a donor, to choosing a hospital and more.
Gail, a paralegal from Long Island, and Boris, a New Jersey native, settled in Livingston three decades ago and raised their now 26-year-old daughter, Katherine, in town.
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