As someone who has dedicated his life to helping others, Prabhakar is not used to asking for or receiving help. But a team of friends convinced him to share his need publicly. They know Prabhakar as a caring son, attentive father, devoted husband, dog lover, selfless friend, community volunteer, and public servant.
Last year, Prabhakar stood faithfully by his wife, Rupa, supporting her every step of the way as she triumphantly fought cancer. Passionate about investing in his community, Prabhakar has volunteered with the Boy Scouts of America, coached FLL Robotics, volunteered for FTC Robotics Tournaments, served at local charities and homeless shelters, and supported BreakFree, a nonprofit that combats human trafficking. He currently sits on the PRSTY Foundation board. He regularly donates to many causes, including the Bradshaw County Animal Shelter.
Prabhakar adopted his dogs, Poppy and Maggi, from that very shelter and loves them like family.
Prabhakar retired in September 2021 from an engineering career of 32 years. He spent 30 of those years serving the public, becoming a regional leader for the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District. For the last eight and a half years, he held the title of General Manager for the Districts, overseeing 800 staff members and answering to a 17-member board consisting of county supervisors and city council members. As General Manager, Prabhakar was responsible for preparing the sewer area for improvements, such as introducing advanced wastewater treatments as well as new recycling programs to reduce costs. He turned Sacramento County into one of most efficient, environmentally-sound districts in the region, serving over 1.6 million residents.
To honor Prabhakar upon his retirement, the board of directors pitched in their own funds to buy an ultrasound machine for the Bradshaw Animal Shelter, knowing Prabhakar’s compassion for shelter dogs.
In September 2021, Prabhakar was featured in a short video, entitled “How One of California’s Largest Wastewater Utilities’ Vision Evolved from Inward to Outward.” You can watch it here.
Twenty years ago, Prabhakar was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), a progressive genetic disease that reduces kidney function to the point of failure. When cysts form on a kidney, the organ swells. These cysts gradually replace healthy tissue, incapacitating the kidney so it can no longer filter waste from the bloodstream. Eventually, people with PKD require either lifelong dialysis or a kidney transplant. There is currently no cure for PKD.
Because his kidney function has deteriorated to near-failure, Prabhakar urgently needs a transplant. The wait for a deceased donor averages 4 to 9 years—and nearly 100,000 people are on the waitlist.
Prabhakar, age 57, needs a kidney transplant by the end of 2022. This shrinking window of time means he needs a living donor. With each passing day, Prabhakar’s kidney function decreases, propelling him toward dialysis. Dialysis is a physically demanding procedure that often jeopardizes patients’ opportunity for a transplant —the optimal treatment. (See Dialysis to learn more about this last resort.)
Because the donor qualification process can take 5 to 6 months, Prabhakar must find a living donor now. Unfortunately, no pending treatments (such as those using artificial or animal kidneys) will be available in time for Prabhakar.
Although dialysis prevents the buildup of toxins in the bloodstream, the treatment is physically demanding and risks serious repercussions: (1) Because transplant candidates must be robust enough for major surgery, any problems caused by dialysis can disqualify them from the waitlist. Dialysis can wreak havoc on the heart, arteries, teeth, circadian rhythm, bones, blood pressure, immune system, and more—it can even lead to death; (2) The adverse effects of dialysis can compromise transplant success.
Several of Prabhakar’s family members volunteered to donate a kidney, but all were deemed ineligible. Their mission now is to find a donor who does qualify. By helping with their search—or by becoming a donor yourself—you will offer Prabhakar the gift of life.
As you consider this plea, please share Prabhakar’s need through any means possible: word of mouth, social media, email, local news, and so on. The more people who know, the greater Prabhakar’s chance of finding a living kidney donor.
Donor Process & Qualification
Prabhakar’s health insurance will cover donor evaluations, procedures, and hospital stays at many transplant centers in California (where Prabhakar lives) and across the US. Transplant centers ensure that donors safely match organ recipients, disqualifying donors at medical risk. They also accommodate donors’ work schedules and other related needs.
Donor surgery has become remarkably noninvasive, the traditional open surgery often replaced by a laparoscopy. Hospital recovery time lasts only a day or two for donors. The donor must be from 18 to 65 years old and can remain anonymous. There is no need for the donor to live near Sacramento, to be a family member, or to match Prabhakar’s blood type (thanks to kidney exchange programs).
Prabhakar is registered at the UC Davis Transplant Center. To be considered for his match, please fill out the donor questionnaire. Make sure to include Prabhakar’s name and birthday on the form. You may also call or email the Living Donor Coordinator with any questions at (916) 734-1268 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To talk with a kidney donor, please contact Kala Kowtha (friend of Rupa and Prabhakar’s) at (916) 812-0460 or email her at email@example.com. As a donor who saved a life 23 years ago, she is happy to address any questions or concerns you might have.
To read a heartwarming donor story, click here. You can find similar donation stories at the link below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Must donors be related to kidney recipients?
No, donors and recipients do not need to be related.
How can I get matched with my preferred recipient ?
First, fill out the donor questionnaire with your preferred recipient’s name and birthday. If you get past the initial screening, you will receive an invitation for medical evaluation. During this multistep evaluation process, doctors will review your medical history. If you are deemed physically healthy, psychologically stable, and well supported, you will be qualified as a donor.
How easy is it to qualify as a donor?
Only 50% of people who sign up to donate end up qualifying as potential donors The medical evaluation often reveals latent health problems that result in disqualifying potential donors.
How soon after I fill out the donor questionnaire will the transplant center respond?
After submitting the questionnaire, you will likely hear back from the transplant center within a couple weeks. If you qualify to donate , the center will direct you to the next steps. If you do not qualify to donate, the center will inform you of your ineligibility.
Do I need to pay for evaluation tests?
No, the kidney recipient’s insurance covers all donor testing.
Do I need to pay for the donor surgery?
No, the kidney recipient’s insurance covers all donor procedures.
How long do donors need to take off work?
Donors typically take 3 to 6 weeks off work, depending on the transplant center and individual . However, some donors can start working as quickly as 2 weeks post-surgery, resuming everyday activities during the following couple weeks. Because each situation is unique, your doctor will give you the green light to return to work.
Are donors reimbursed for time taken off work?
Work leave is covered by either the donor’s sick leave or the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Click here for more information about leave.
Are donors financially compensated for donating?
Donors do not get compensated for donating a kidney. However, some nonprofit organizations do compensate donors for those expenses incurred from travel, work leave, and related demands. Transplant centers also help donors cover these expenses.
How risky is kidney donation?
With laparoscopy largely replacing the traditional open surgery, donor surgery is now remarkably noninvasive.
How long is the recovery time?
With laparoscopy, donors stay only 1 or 2 nights in the hospital. They then recover at home for 3 to 6 weeks, during which time they should not lift anything heavy. After the recovery period, donors can resume their normal activities without restriction.
Can I still donate if I don’t match my preferred recipient’s blood type?
Yes. If you qualify to donate a kidney but fail to match your preferred recipient, you can still donate via the paired exchange program.
How does my donating to a stranger help my preferred recipient?
When you donate to a stranger on your preferred recipient’s behalf, your preferred recipient will receive a kidney from another paired exchange donor. In other words, you’re paying it forward. Exchange program surgeries have allowed up to 10 people across the country to receive a kidney transplant simultaneously. In all these cases, the process began with one paired exchange donor.
What happens if, after donating, I eventually need a kidney?
One goal of the initial medical evaluation is to prevent this scenario from happening. Thus, few donors find themselves in need of a kidney after donating. If, however, donors end up in this unfortunate situation, the national kidney registry places them at the top of the waitlist to ensure a transplant as quickly as possible.
How else can I help the 100,000 patients waiting for a kidney?
If you are unable to donate physically, you can donate financially to institutes researching the prevention and treatment of various kidney diseases. Two of the leading institutes are thePKD Foundationand National Kidney Foundation. You can also spread awareness about the need for kidney donors or sign up to be a deceased donor.
How can I sign up to be a deceased donor ?
To confirm that you want to donate an organ after death, you mustregisterwith the national organ donor database. This online registry takes just a few minutes. After your death, medical personnel will search the state donor registry and discover your wish to be a donor.