In the Nov. 4, 2015 issue of Evanston RoundTable, I described the daunting challenges facing a local man with ESRD (end-stage renal disease) That man is Ken March, an Evanston resident: ( He holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is well known in the medical/healthcare marketing industry. He works closely with doctors and patients in various disease areas, helping to better understand how each individual patient type copes with disease on a daily basis – how decisions are reached, where mistakes are made, how they interact together.

The article inspired two people to offer themselves as a kidney donor for Ken.

This gratifying news, unfortunately, did not lead to the hoped-for outcome.

A man in his 60s expressed an interest in being a donor. His good intentions hit the wall of the transplant hospital’s rigorous donor evaluation system. Even though the probability of a successful kidney transplant was calculated to be approximately 95%, the protocols require that no harm be done to the potential donor. And this gentlemen, it was discovered, suffers from intractable hypertension. His own dependence on prescription drugs to control his condition put him at too great a risk to serve as a kidney donor.

A young married woman also decided to become a donor for Ken, but as often happens, practical circumstances trumped intentions. After pondering the details of the laparoscopy procedure and considering the recovery time (not nearly as long as she feared), the effect on her job and the needs of her family, she changed her mind.

These disappointments can’t be attributed to bad luck. During the past three years, two-dozen other potential donors came forward for Ken, but for a whole range of reasons, the transplant has not gone forward.

The final decision to donate a kidney is complex, balancing the potential donor’s individual motivation to help against a wide variety of medical and social issues. And, as we’ve seen in the first case, even if the donor doesn’t have second thoughts, the hospital may have second thoughts for him and refuse to proceed with the transplant.

Ken sincerely thanks all those who have tried to help and hopes the next donor-applicant is the one to save his life.  As an avid Evanston runner I miss seeing Ken on the roads and hope for a donor to get him back on his feet.

Ken March urgently needs a kidney transplant. Preferably, the donor will have type O blood [+ or -] for a direct transplant.

(Potential donors with other blood types are eligible for a “Paired Match” – donate to hospital, and an appropriate kidney with O blood type found).

The procedure for kidney donation is laparoscopic, requiring only a 1 or two-day hospital stay. All medical expenses will be paid by the recipient’s insurance plan.

The hospital is Northwestern, in downtown Chicago.