In 1970, Chuck Winer served in Vietnam as a combat correspondent and photographer. He worked as the editor of the Army's 1st Aviation Brigade's monthly magazine. His kidneys are failing due to medical treatment made necessary from exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam.
Who Am I?
I am Chuck and I need a kidney to live. I am a veteran who served as a combat correspondent/photographer with the 1st Aviation Brigade in Vietnam. Upon returning I worked in healthcare in a variety of roles with hospitals, insurers, and physician organizations to assure all Americans could access quality cost-effective healthcare.
What Happened To Me?
My kidneys are failing due to medical treatment made necessary from exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam.
How A Transplant Will Affect My Life
A kidney transplant will restore my health and will allow me to live freely and not have to be tied to a machine to stay alive. A kidney transplant will enable me to live a long healthy life with my family and to continue the fund-raising work I do for others.
How I Help Others
As a volunteer I give inspirational talks to raise much-needed research funds for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Ways You Can Help Me
Share My Story
Even if you don't aspire to be a kidney donor, you probably know someone who might be interested. I am asking that you share my story and the link for this webpage on your social media and by email.
Just by sharing my story you will help to save my life. Sharing would be like throwing a life preserver into the water to save me from drowning. Sharing the link for this webpage is the same thing. The more people who know of my need, the better my chance to reach a person willing to save my life by being a kidney donor.
Donate A Kidney
If you want to help me or someone else, you don’t need to be a direct match. Instead, by using the National Kidney Registry’s voucher or paired match programs, the idea is simple: Donate a kidney to a stranger now, on my behalf. I would receive a voucher, so I could be paired with a donor who matches me. Often, the chain doesn’t stop there, as one donation leads to another, and then to another, and several lives are saved at once.
Donors can be anywhere. More than 90 outstanding transplant centers participate in the National Kidney Registry (NKR) network. Donors can usually donate at any NKR-affiliated transplant center near them or at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where I am registered and approved for transplant. I am just waiting for a donor.
If you are interested in learning about kidney donation or in being tested to see if you are eligible to donate, please visit Chuck's page on the National Kidney Registry NKR.ORG/DND472.
Kidney Donor Basics
Most people have two healthy kidneys but can live a normal life with only one. For that reason, kidney transplants have become routine in saving the lives of people with kidney disease. Kidney donors typically spend two days in the hospital and quickly resume normal activities.
Know the Facts: Living Kidney Donation
People can live normal lives with only one kidney.
When the kidney is removed, the single normal kidney will increase in size to compensate for the loss of the donated kidney.
Living donation does not change life expectancy and does not appear to increase the risk of kidney failure.
The recipient’s insurance pays for all the testing and the surgery.
Information from National Kidney Foundation and Johns Hopkins
Paired Kidney Donation
A matching kidney would be ideal. However, there's another way for me to get a living kidney transplant. If you donate a kidney on my behalf through the National Kidney Registry (NKR) to help another person, then I would get a compatible kidney. This arrangement is called "Paired Kidney Donation".
The NKR would issue a voucher to me which is like an IOU for a kidney. The NKR employs data from across the U.S. to match donors with compatible recipients. That increases the number of transplants performed and ensures best patient outcomes.
If you donate a kidney on my behalf, your costs for hospital and medical care would all be covered. You would also receive Donor Shield Protections (including lost wages, room and lodging, and more) available only through the NKR. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIXMp4PymMI
If you donate your kidney through the NKR, you will help two or more other kidney patients get a life-saving kidney by becoming a part of an NKR kidney transplant chain. A chain can sometimes start with an anonymous donor who has decided they would like to donate one of their kidneys to a person in need that they don't even know.
Kidney Transplant Chain
“When I donated my kidney five years ago, I was in the hospital for two days. When I came home I was sore for several days but only needed Tylenol. A week later I did a 20 mile bike ride. Donating my kidney was a great opportunity to be a part of something glorious."
"Donating was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was a tremendous experience to give part of me to help revive someone’s life, but the unimaginable connections and friendships through donation have been astounding. I’d encourage anyone who’s healthy enough to donate to give it some serious consideration."
--Bobby McLaughlin, excerpt from DonortoDonor.com
"If you are deemed healthy enough to donate after a battery of tests and assessments, extensive data shows that your life will not be negatively impacted by the loss of a kidney. In fact, your life will be greatly impacted in a positive way with the knowledge that you helped to save a life."
--Jon excerpt from DonortoDonor.com
"It was such a blessing for me to donate. I have two daughters; because I donated, I now have a son. JT, my recipient, now calls me his mom too. His mother gave him life first and I gave him life second. His family and mine couldn’t be closer."
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. I realized that maybe I couldn’t change the world, but I could change one person. What started out as a compassionate response to a single individual has blossomed into a far-reaching connection with a multitude of wonderful people I now call my friends. I have been blessed with deeper meaning and greater purpose in my life. People often thank me for what I did, but to my mind the gifts I received were much greater than the one I gave.”
--Eldonna Edwards, Author Lost in Transplantation
I grew up in Medford, MA and attended public schools. I left the Boston area to attend Ripon College, a small liberal arts college in Wisconsin. In 1970 I entered the Army as a combat correspondent and photographer with the 1st Aviation Brigade headquartered in Long Binh, Vietnam.
I was the editor of the brigade magazine, regularly flying with helicopter units. During this time, I may have been exposed to Agent Orange, a defoliant chemical.
Chuck and Debbie at dance class
Register to donate to Chuck
Brigham & Women's Hospital Living Donor Center, Boston, MA
Save A Life, Share Your Spare
TED Talk: What makes a person donate his kidney to a stranger?