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In Illinois, the odds of getting a lifesaving kidney transplant are pretty long for the nearly 22,000 Illinois residents who depend on dialysis to stay alive. But if the state’s legislature acts on two pieces of legislation, we may begin to reverse the severe shortage of organs for transplant.

Most transplanted organs come from deceased donors, but certain organs, like kidneys, can also be transplanted from living donors. As someone who is kidney donor, I can attest it’s not an easy decision to make, more so because there are real societal obstacles donors face, such as being able to take time for the surgery and recovery without jeopardizing your job.

Even after going through with the donation, there is the possibility donors will be denied life, disability or long-term care insurance coverage in the future. Or, have to pay higher premiums because insurers see donors as having a “pre-existing condition.”

Passage of H.B. 2847, introduced by Rep. Deb Conroy, will guarantee that insurers can’t discriminate against living organ donors by charging higher premiums or refusing to insure them altogether. It will also require employers to provide up to 60 business days of job-protected unpaid organ donation leave.

Additionally the passage of S.B. 68, introduced by Sen. Julie Morrison, will provide a tax credit to private employers for giving employees 30 days of paid leave for organ donation.

Join me and the other American Kidney Fund Ambassadors and ask your state representatives to support the passage of this lifesaving legislation.

Terri Thede, Normal

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