Kerri Adams is a human resources analyst from upstate Utah. She is the first state employee to use a new law that promotes life and independence and this week Adams is being honored by Lt. Governor Olene Walker for her efforts.
In April Adams donated a kidney to save the life of a young woman. Because of the contribution and because she is a state employee she will receive 30 days of paid leave. The new legislation was enacted last year with the help of Senator Karen Hale. Today (Tuesday, July 1), on the steps of the state capitol, Adams and her kidney recipient will gather to discuss the potential of the new law to promote kidney donations and dialysis liberation as well as honor Adams for her contribution.
"It's appropriate during Independence week to honor Ms. Adams and the state legislature for passing a law that will give people on dialysis a chance at independence through transplantation," says Alex Mcdonald, director of public education for Intermountain donor Services.
Adams decided to donate a kidney when she heard a coworker's daughter, Allison Draper, needed a transplant. "I felt bad for the family because they have two daughters in need of transplants. One daughter received a kidney from her mother, who is my coworker, but it began to fail. I wanted to help the other daughter who was waiting for a kidney," said Adams. "When I heard about the new law that provided for paid leave, I decided it was the right time to donate."
Senator Karen Hale, who initiated the law says that there are 170 Utah citizens waiting to be freed from dialysis machines. "I hope this law sends a message to the business community that we can encourage kidney donation, if we are willing to support our employees while they recover. I think more state employees will donate now that they can receive paid time off."
Surveys commissioned by Intermountain Donor Services suggest that over 30 percent of Utahns are interested in donating a kidney to save a life and that 10 percent would be willing to donate within the next year. If less than one percent of Utahns donated a kidney, two-thirds of the patients on the waiting list for all organs would be liberated.
This isn't just a Salt Lake City story, its a Wayne county, an Iron county, a Wasatch front, a Moab, and a Price story. It's our state and the people on the waiting lists are fellow Utahns. Its time we took a step to support our neighbors and families.
Intermountain Donor Services and the Utah Coalition for Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation launched a program in March. Its time we all signed up to look into the program and do our part. For more information call 800-YES-UTAH or on details can be found on the web at www.yesutah.org.