The Mentor Project
Waiting for and receiving an organ transplant is a very emotional time. Learning that you or a family member needs a transplant, going through the evaluation process, waiting for the call, having the surgery, recovering, and then adjusting to “chronic wellness” – life after transplant – can be a wonderful but emotional, stressful, and anxious time. Recipients may feel happiness, fear and even confusion. Living donors wonder about having elective surgery. Family members experience concerns about the welfare of their loved ones. Support from friends, family and the transplant center team can often help, but talking to someone who has been in the same situation is often the best cure for calming nerves and realizing positive outcomes. That’s where the Mentor Project, a patient service program of Georgia Transplant Foundation, can provide assistance. A trained mentor can be “the face of hope” for anyone facing transplant.
The Mentor Project provides one-to-one contact between people living successfully with a transplant and people who are new or adjusting to the world of transplantation. The Mentor Project has trained mentors (recipients, living donors, spouses, parents of pediatric recipients, and other family members) who have a desire to help support others through the transplant process. All organ groups, living donors, and each Georgia transplant center are represented in The Mentor Project. Mentors provide hope and encouragement, share their personal experiences, and most importantly, they’re good listeners. They offer support on an as-needed basis from a simple phone call to a hospital visit to personal meetings. Unlike a support group, in a mentoring relationship real life experiences are shared and even the smallest questions get answered privately and confidentially.
Think a Mentor Could Help You? GTF Can Find a Perfect Match!
If you live in Georgia or are a client at a Georgia transplant center, you can be referred to the Mentor Project by your social worker, transplant coordinator, transplant clinic professional or physician, or you can simply request a mentor by contacting GTF directly. Mentors and mentees are matched by common experiences and situations. For example, transplant center, type of organ, and if possible, age, location, and medical history are all considered when selecting your mentor. All information you share or discuss with a mentor is confidential.
Mention to a member of your transplant team that you’d like to talk with a mentor. Or, contact GTF directly by completing the “I would like to request a mentor” online form or calling the office at 770.457.3796 or toll free at 1.866.428.9411.
You Could Be a Mentor!
Mentoring is a way to give back to the transplant community and share the joys of a second chance at life with someone who is waiting for a transplant, considering becoming a living donor or adjusting to life after transplant. Being a mentor can be just as beneficial as having a mentor. To be considered as a mentor one must be six months post-transplant/living donation, referred by a member of the transplant team, living successfully after transplant/donation and able to complete a one-day training workshop. If you’re interested, please complete the “I would like to be trained as a mentor” form and contact: Deb Long at (678) 514-1178 or DLong@gatransplant.org
“Talking with someone who had been through a transplant helped me not be so scared of the unknown.”
“My mentor is such a great listener and encourager. I walked away feeling validated, simply because I knew I had someone that could personally relate to both the joy and pain associated with transplant.”
“My living donor mentor reassured me I could live a normal life with one kidney.”
“Talking with another spouse helped me realize others feel overwhelmed too.”
“Seeing my mentor look so healthy gave me hope that I could be healthy again too.”
“My mentor answers my questions honestly and always reminds me to do what the transplant team says.”
“Being a mentor has given me a chance to help others and to keep my gift going.”