After kidney transplant, North TX lawmaker proposes living organ donor education program

March 29, 2023

Fort Worth Star Telegram

By Eleanor Dearman

When he learned his kidney was a match for his father-in-law, state Sen. Kelly Hancock, Greg Cox said he didn’t hesitate.

“I think the Lord has stuff for you in your life, and I think this is just one of those things,” Cox said, standing outside the Senate chamber at the Texas Capitol. “When I found out I was a match, I didn’t think twice.”

Cox in July donated the organ to Hancock, who has for years had a chronic kidney disease called igA nephropathy — Berger’s disease. Now, the North North Richland Hills Republican senator is working to educate Texans on becoming a living organ donor.

A Senate committee on Wednesday advanced a bill that would require the Texas Department of State Health Services to create a living organ donor education program to help people learn more about the need for living organ donors.

The program would include information about how to register as a potential living organ donor with a registry.

A program called the National Donate Life Living Donor Registry is currently under development, having completed its first pilot phase in October 2021 in Texas, with plans to grow it nationwide, according to Hancock’s office. It is primarily for kidney donations, but there are opportunities to donate parts of other organs, said Chad Carroll, executive director of Donate Life Texas.

If the bill passes, information about being a living organ donor would be posted online on the websites for DSHS and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Currently driver’s license applicants can register to be an organ donor after death.

Nationally, more than 100,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant, according to Donate Life America.

“Until you’ve gone through it, until you’ve had a family member go through it, you really don’t know how far we’ve come with surgery and healthcare,” said Hancock, who said he was close to having to go on dialysis before getting a kidney transplant.

Cox, who is an attorney founding principal at law and public affairs firm Clearfork Strategies, said he thinks it’s important to let people know they have an ability to save a life and help another person.

Hancock said he’s doing great since the surgery.

“There are things I’ll do the rest of my life: Do my vitals every day for the rest of my life. I’ll take medicine the rest of my life, but I also have my life,” he said, adding that going on dialysis would have totally changed things for him.

The legislation passed out of the Senate Health and Human Services committee 7-0.

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