NewsLocal News


Couple's need for transplants highlights shortage of organ donations

Wait lists can last years, hospitals say
Posted at 9:09 AM, Dec 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-17 12:56:27-05

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) - A couple in San Diego are spending the holiday telling everyone they know to register as an organ donor.
"People don't like to talk about their death, but rather than bury these organs or burn them up, you can save lives," says Nancy Marlin, who is recovering from a kidney transplant.
Marlin had a genetic kidney disease and would have needed dialysis if not for the donation. Her new kidney came from a co-worker.
"I was so fortunate," says says. "Someone gave me the most amazing gift."
It's a gift her family knows well. Marlin's husband, Fred Kolkhorst, had a heart transplant just 18 months ago after being diagnoses with heart failure.
"It changes you immensely in ways that are difficult to describe," he says.
Kolkhorst and Marlin are rare in that they're a married couple who have both received donated organs. Sharp Memorial Hospital Transplant Coordinator Tammy Wright says she can't think of any couples in her 25 years in the field.
Wright says the holidays are the perfect time for families to talk about their wishes in regards to organ donations.
"It's a time of giving," she says. "The simple thing is to tell your family what your wishes are. If they know what your wishes are, they usually will follow that if something does happen."
Wright also says to consider being a living donor for organs like kidneys, which have an 8-12 year wait list for donors.
"The simple act of saying 'yes' can make somebody live," she says.
More information on organ donation can be found here.