Kidney hunting

Aside from Sounds of Silence, Sgt. peppers, Blue (Joni Mitchell) and most any song by Eric Clapton, Ten Years After’s “I’d Love to Change the World” from their 1971 album is probably one of my favorite songs and lyrics of all time. It’s easy to listen to, though haunting (especially the Chorus). It does a good job to capture the protest and rumination of the age. In fact, it seems entirely appropriate for today, 48 years after its original release. It covers the continuous corruption, warring, racism and economic inequality that characterize our society.

Tax the rich.  Feed the poor. Til there are no. Rich no more,

(Chorus) I’d love to change the world. But I don’t know what to do. So I’ll leave it up to you.

Population keeps on breeding. Nation bleeding. Still more feeding, economy.

Life is funny. Skies are sunny. Bees make honey. Who needs money? No, not poor.

I’d love to chsnge the world. But I don’t know what to do. So I’ll leave it up to you.

World pollution. Is no solution. Execution. Electrocution. It’s black and white. Rich or poor. Them and us. Stop the war.

Ten Years After inspires me to do something good, really helping others before I leave this Earth. Help the afflicted, help mitigate the climate crisis (and one’s own carbon footprint), feed the poor, help the homeless, the addicted, the people who are born into the wrong environment, the wrong country,  the wrong social class.

So when an acquaintance asked me to be her “Kidney Coach”, her advocate, a few weeks back, I jumped at the opportunity to help her find a kidney so she could get off of three-days a week dialysis, and continue living.  She’s been a caretaker herself for years, helping the poor and aged in social services, but now needs a kidney.  (We’re born with two kidneys, and actually only need one to function, to provide homeostasis to our bodies).  A live donor is preferable to a cadaver, but live organs are not plentiful, so proactive outreach making an appeal for an organ can help),

I’ve always been interested in matchmaking, helping put people together for mutual gain. I have been interested in career development, and providing research services to employment agencies, helping candidates find gainful employment.  So now I’m a kidney hunter rather than a headhunter. In this case, I’m going to help save the life of someone rather than just find that person a new job.

A new organ is needed by someone every 12 minutes. Tens of thousands of people needing organs don’t find them in time, but I’m not going to let this get in the way.

My acquaintance and I are not waiting for a kidney. We’re on a mission to find someone who wants to give life to another human being. It’s like hitchhiking on a long stretch of road. We only need one driver to pick us up for a little while.

Who is that donor?  I’ve learned that a potential donor may have given blood, bone marrow or platelets prior to donating a kidney.  They may have been touched by a personal family member or friend who has benefited from an act of kindness. Some see it as a duty.  How do I reach these people?

You may be interested yourself or know someone who has done it already. There are five kinds of donations:

1. Direct donation. Generally the donor and recipient know each other.

2. Paired exchange donation. One donated to a recipient in exchange for a compatible kidney for their loved one.

3. Good Samaritan donation. A donation is made to a stranger, and starts a chain of transplants.

4. Advance donation. Same as “paired exchange” but done over a longer period of time.

5. Remote donation. Able to receive a donation without travel to a distant city.

If you’d like to learn more about kidney donations and/or are interested in helping me spread the word, or maybe you’re interested in being a donor yourself, please contact me at    There are a number of programs and supports provided to donors including reimbursement and insurance coverage to eliminate any costs.  Thank you.



Published by Richard Halpern

Retired (but busy) after a lengthy career in business marketing, communications and research. Worked at four start-ups and one turnaround. Now volunteer doing prospect research for a climate activity and social advocacy non profit, amongst other things.

3 thoughts on “Kidney hunting

  1. 10 years after, but also (almost) 50 yrs after. Yikes.
    I like the way u shift from the lyrics to the kidney hunt.
    A key factor in finding an organ is the health and habits of the proposed recipient. Does she have a healthy lifestyle? Would the kidney middleman organization consider her a good bet to do well medically if she received the new donation?

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Wow. That felt like a punch in the stomach. not in a bad way….

    My father needed a kidney at age 34. He didn’t get one. That was 55 years ago. I was eight.

    I’m swinging on my porch in the sun at 7 am on Saturday. There’s a helicopter overhead. I live four blocks from the hospital area so helicopters are a common sight and sound. This one may be carrying a kidney or a heart for someone.


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