Seven years ago, Lake in the Hills resident Jeff Higgins’s life changed for the better when his brother, Michael Higgins, finally was cleared to donate a kidney to him.
Higgins moved forward with a successful transplant at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.
Now, Higgins lives a healthy, normal life with his new kidney, and he’s decided to give back by asking community members to make the important decision to save lives by registering to be organ and tissue donors.
“Being on dialysis was not fun. It was four hours each time three days a week starting at 5 a.m.” Higgins said. “Having gone through a transplant with a great outcome, I want to promote organ donation and the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois so nobody has to wait to get their gift.”
While Higgins was lucky to get his kidney from a living donor, others in Illinois wait an average of five to seven years for a kidney from a deceased donor.
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, more than 4,400 people in Illinois are waiting for a kidney transplant, and 800 more wait for other lifesaving organ transplants.
This summer, Higgins will participate in the 2012 Bowl for Life, a bowling tournament that the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois will host on June 9, 2012, in Lombard.
Higgins and his teammates are competing against other teams composed of transplant recipients living across the state to register the most new organ and tissue donors.
April is National Donate Month. Anyone older than 18 years can register to be an organ and tissue donor in the state of Illinois. People can register at their local driver’s service facility or by visiting www.DonateLifeIllinois.org.