Held in February, the Big Conversation brought together Black living kidney donors, Black kidney patients, and their friends and family to talk about living kidney donation with GSTT kidney specialists.
The aim of the event was to help Black patients, who are often reluctant to talk about living donation, to start the conversation with loved ones. The event was also designed to encourage and inspire friends and family to consider donating.
KPA Committee member Charles Jaja, who attended the event, said:
“The Big Conversation was packed with great learning and take home experiences from the different speakers and comments from the audience. It was a successful event, and this kind of patient and family engagement networking evening should be held at least twice a year to promote living donation in the Black Community.”
The fear of family and friends’ refusal and dealing with the rejection was the number one reason why many patients at the event were reluctant to ask family and friends to donate. For family and friends, the fear of having such a major operation was the number one reason cited as their reason for not coming forward. Patients attending the event felt that the Big Conversation had given them a lot more confidence to talk to family and friends, and has helped one family member to overcome their fear and come forward as a donor.
According to Gift of Living Donation (GOLD) Founder Dela Idowu:
“We need to start having open conversations about living kidney donation in the Black community so that more Black patients affected by renal failure can benefit from having a living kidney transplant.”
The Big Conversation is part of the Living Transplant Initiative, a joint project between GOLD and GSTT, and funded by NHS Blood and Transplant.
GSTT Q&A panellists at the event
Dr Refik Gokmen, Consultant Nephologist; Anita Copley, Clinical Nurse Specialist Living Donation; Miri Vutabwarova,
Clinical Nurse Specialist Living Donation.
Image: Dela Idowu, Founder of Gift of Living Donation (right) with Hayley Armstrong who donated a kidney to her father in 2019. Photo © AMC Media