SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) — Just about every other day for the past three years, Roy-Allen Bumpers walks through the doors at the Center for Dialysis Care so he can stay alive.
He stays for about four hours each visit he receives treatment, but there is no way that Roy-Allen is going to sit still.
In fact, Roy-Allen is a very busy guy.
He’s juggling dental assistant school, hanging out with three very active children, and playing high level chess and teaching it to children after work a few times a week.
Roy-Allen said dialysis is just another task on his busy schedule.
“It does not mean that your life is over,” he said.
The kidneys are an absolute marvel. Depending on a person’s size, they filter on average about 150 quarts of blood every day, returning cleaned blood back into your body and removing impurities in the form of urine.
And when your kidneys fail, the ability of the organ to filter the blood diminishes and dialysis or a transplant are the only options.
Roy-Allen’s kidneys began to fail when he was in his late 20’s, and now at 40 he’s on the kidney transplant list along with about 90,000 other Americans.
He’s been waiting for three years, and dialysis is his only option right now.
“It’s what I need to stay alive at this point,” he said. “Twelve hours a week I have to delegate to get the work done that my kidneys can’t do, and even with the 12 hours a week I do, that’s only about seven percent of what healthy kidneys do 24/7,” Roy-Allen said.
People of color make up about 60 percent of the people who need an organ transplant, but only about 30 percent of the donors. The numbers are huge; so much so that just about everybody no matter where you live probably know someone who could use an organ transplant.
Transplant patients are not matched on race or ethnicity.
But transplant matches within the same ethnicity are usually more compatible and successful.
Lifebanc and other organizations are working to get people of color the information they need to consider making organ donation a possible choice.
“To get that donor to match that recipient is very difficult and when you have less and less people that are registered to be a donor and that waiting time, especially in the African American community, is longer. We need to get the word out, the importance out, to get people to trust that Lifebanc is here to help them through that worse time of their life,” Lifebanc CEO Gordon Bowen said.
But until Roy-Allen gets that call, he’ll use that dialysis time to do continue to be the best person he can be.
He just gets on with it because it’s what he has to do to be with his family.
The only quibble he has is that it gets cold when the warm blood flows out of his body and into the machine to be cleaned and then returned.
It’s four hours every other day. Twelve hours a week. Three full years of waiting.
But Roy-Allen said dialysis, for now, keeps his life very good because he is still here and still around the people and things he loves.
He’s always believed that you have to turn a negative into a positive.
“I’m just glad to be sitting down to chill out a little, I’m feeling good though.” Roy-Allen said.
If you would like to find out more about organ donation, click here.