Your story on the paired kidney donation chain involving Allegheny General Hospital couldn't have come at a better time ("Doctors Praise Organ Matching," April 15). April is National Donate Life Month -- a good time to ask every American to take a moment to be counted as an organ and tissue donor after death and to consider living donation, which is today's best available treatment for kidney failure.
About 26 million Americans have chronic kidney disease and more than 80,000 are waiting for a lifesaving kidney transplant. These are your family members, your co-workers, the guy at your gym and, as a recent reality show revealed, the woman who makes the coffee for your morning commute. While the number of people who need dialysis grows each year, the number of living kidney donors has declined from an all-time high of only 6,647 donors in 2004 to fewer than 6,000 last year.
As part of the new Living Donor Council Executive Committee of the National Kidney Foundation, I hope to help remove barriers to donation by advocating for a national paired exchange registry, and to inspire others to follow the example of the AGH living donors who cared enough to give the gift of life. Learn more at www.kidney.org by clicking on "Be an Organ Donor."
LORA WARD WILSON
The writer was a nondirected kidney donor at UPMC in November 2006.