KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — More than 2,700 people in Tennessee are in need of a kidney transplant, according to data from the Organ Procurement & Transplantation Network.
On Wednesday night, former Tennessee Titan star and Vol defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth announced he was among them.
"I’m in dire need of a kidney," Haynesworth wrote in an Instagram post. "Mine have finally failed me."
Senior education coordinator for Tennessee Donor Services Billy Jarvis said there is a shortage of kidney donations. Nationwide, there are nearly 100,000 people are waiting.
"It's a huge, huge need," Jarvis said. "Most recipients know that going into it that they might have to wait a little while and it'll be a blessing if they can get one."
After Haynesworth shared his kidney prognosis, Jarvis said he received more calls about the kidney donation process than normal.
"I had five calls before I even went to bed, wanting to know how can they call into Vanderbilt to see if they could possibly be a match for him," Jarvis said. "You'll see a bump in kind of people being interested."
If you're interested in donating a kidney, Jarvis said it's a lengthy process involving multiple tests for hypertension, diabetes and cardiac issues among other conditions.
Doctors want to make sure that you are donating a healthy kidney and healthy enough to live with just one.
"It isn’t like I'm going to go in there tomorrow and they'll take one of my kidneys out," Jarvis said. "It's a pretty extensive process."
Once you finish the pre-screening process, however, Jarvis said it can get easier. Many kidney transplants can be done using a laparoscopic or minimally invasive technique.
With so many people in need of organ donations, Jarvis said he encourages everyone to join the organ donor registry at BeTheGiftToday.com.
"It takes about two minutes to sign up on the registry and it changes people's lives," he said. "You could save someone you know: your neighbor, your friend, and hopefully Mr. Haynesworth’s life as well."