Navy veteran in need of kidney turns to community, new nonprofit group

Cochrane has been on a transplant waiting list for nearly a year and is facing the possibility of dialysis in the near future.


The word is getting around, a Central Florida Navy veteran needs a kidney.

"It's just been an outpouring of people who want to help in one way or another," Jim Cochrane said.

Cochrane has been on a transplant waiting list for nearly a year. Sooner rather than later, he may need dialysis.

"They told us we needed to prepare for that, that it's going to be coming in the next couple of months, that's really what spurred us to look for additional help," Cochrane said.

Cochrane has turned to a new nonprofit organization called Donor Outreach for Veterans, or DOVE. The organization specifically seeks out kidney donors.

Its organizer is passionate about helping veterans after two decades of working to increase transplant access in the New York City area, including the Veterans Affairs in the Bronx.

"I'm not only helping these very deserving people who have risked so much throughout their lives to keep us safe, I'm also helping to decrease what's a dramatic shortage in the United States for organs," Sharyn Kreitzer said.

"Their staff have actually donated kidneys to veterans themselves," Cochrane said.

Cochrane and his wife just recently learned about the Donor Outreach for Veterans. In his Winter Garden community, another nonprofit organization called Neighbors Helping Neighbors is spreading the word online.

"I truly believe there's so many people that really want to help someone else in any way possible but they don't have any clue about how to go about it," Neighbors Helping Neighbors leader Linda Sibley said.

"Anything that kind of connects to people where they listen and want to learn because they're motivated to help someone or something they're connected to, is a wonderful thing," Kreitzer said.

Sharing a veteran’s expression of a personal need is intended to create passionate interest, hoping to inspire as many donors for as many people as possible.

"You're connected to that family, you made a difference in somebody's life and it's not just the donor and the recipient, it's the families all around and that's something you can never describe," Cochrane said.

There are no fees to those hoping to make a transplant connection through Donor Outreach for Veterans. There are 100,000 people nationwide who are waiting for kidneys.

Click here for more information about DOVE.