Patrice Morris Ball (right) donated a kidney to her sister and wants others to know that a living donation didn't greatly affect her life.

Patrice Morris Ball (right) donated a kidney to her sister and wants others to know that a living donation didn’t greatly affect her life.

Kristian Foden-Vencil/OPB

A group of Oregon women are starting a program to encourage more people to donate a kidney. They’re particularly focused on organs from live donors.

Patrice Morris Ball donated a kidney to her sister 10 years ago. Apart from being unable to take ibuprofen, she said she’s sacrificed very little.

“The only thing I’ve been forbidden by my surgeons to do is rough contact sports, rugby, boxing, tackle football, which I never did anyway,” Morris Ball said.

She is one of a handful of women putting together the Women Encouraging Living Donation program in Oregon. It’s overseen by Aimee Adelmann, who works with the nonprofit Donate Life Northwest.

“A lot of people don’t realize that you have two, and you only need one. This is something that you can still do while you’re still living,” Adelmann said.

The role of the kidneys is to filter blood and remove waste.

Over her lifetime, Aimee Adelmann has had four kidneys, only one of which is still working. She says 97 percent of living donors say they would do it again if they could.

Over her lifetime, Aimee Adelmann has had four kidneys, only one of which is still working. She says 97 percent of living donors say they would do it again if they could.

Kristian Foden-Vencil/OPB

Donating a kidney can result in more protein in the urine and decreased function. But many doctors say the remaining kidney grows to compensate for the extra work.

An estimated 17 Americans die every day, waiting for a kidney transplant. There are 2,200 people awaiting a kidney in the Pacific Northwest.

Oregon’s three major transplant centers are all in the Portland area: OHSU, Legacy Good Samaritan and the VA Hospital.

In addition to kidneys, the group is looking for people to donate bone marrow, a portion of a lung, liver or small intestine.