©2016 TRANSPLANTFIRST ACADEMY: A Non-Profit 501c3 Organization
two books

In Pursuit of a Better Life Book

You're in need of a kidney transplant and hope to avoid dialysis (or be free of the machine) but the wait for a deceased donor will have you waiting for years. You've been told your best option is to find a living kidney donor, but how exactly do you go about that process? What do you say, who do you say it to and how do you go about saying it?

Patients are told very little about how to secure a transplant from a living kidney donor, particularly before dialysis is needed. The thought of having to ask someone to donate a kidney is beyond one’s bravest imagination. In Pursuit of a Better Life was written by Risa Simon, a kidney patient who found herself in need of a kidney transplant without an instruction manual or tour guide. Stunned by the lack of pre-transplant patient engagement, Risa stepped away from her 2+ decade consulting & speaking career to fill this critical void. Her goal was to advance to transplant and then become a role model so others could follow her lead, and that's exactly what she did! What better person to write about this process than a trailblazing advocate who pulled back the curtain to reveal this hidden treasure?

This book is full of advice on how to attract potential donors without ever having to ask someone outright to give you a kidney. It emphasizes the importance of building a team of advocates who can help spread the word. Content-rich and full of examples, readers will find sample letters, conversation scripts, talking points and tons of valuable resources. It’s a one-of-a-kind guidebook that should be an essential part of every transplant center’s education program for their pre-transplant patients. It not only bridges the information-gap for kidney patients who hope to secure a transplant before dialysis is needed—it’s also a rescue guide for dialysis patients who pray to be free of the machine so they can live a better life and thrive, not just survive.

Early adopters will ignite their hidden Donor-Seeker® Superpowers by becoming a Donor-Magnet® for potential volunteers. A must read for anyone hoping to find a living kidney donor or anyone who cares about a person in need. (Released January 1, 2017; Updated November 2017)

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About the Author

Risa Simon is best known as a Positive-Disrupter, Enthusiastic Cheerleader and a Passionate Patient Communicator who’s on a mission to empower kidney patients to proactively advocate for their best life possible. As a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and 4x published author with more than 3-decades of motivational speaking experience, she challenged herself to reassess her corporate-career goals after her 25-year-old PKD diagnosis began its downward spiral.

Jolted by her own concerns, she discovered an opportunity to help herself and others. This serendipitous swing empowered her to step away from her speaking and consulting career to advocate for a better tomorrow for all. Following the belief: "To Advance Forward is to Give Back," Risa actively volunteers for kidney patient organizations like the PKD Foundation, NKF’s Peer Mentoring & Advocacy Programs, ATF’s 1+1 Life Mentorship Program and as an AAKP Ambassador Advocate.

In addition to her volunteer roles, Risa is the founder and CEO of TransplantFirst Academy, The Proactive Path and Simon Says Seminars, inc., where she proudly emboldens kidney patients to visualize their new North Star; a better and longer life. Her thought-provoking seminars, action-oriented workshops and motivational keynotes offer both patient and professional healthcare-provider audiences highly-relatable content, with visually-stimulating graphics and animations. For more information on these programs, online webinars, mentoring, coaching and support group facilitation, email: Risa@TransplantFirst.org.

Role-Play Videos & Stories

Patients need to increase awareness in their need for a living kidney donor, but they aren’t sure what to say or how to say it. In this role-play video you’ll observe a transplant candidate sharing her story (and hope) to find a living kidney donor before requiring dialysis. Never once does the patient ask her friend to consider donating a kidney. Instead, she asks for help in sharing her story. As the conversation grows, a thoughtful shift occurs when her enthusiastic friend starts to contemplate whether she might be able to be  her friend’s donor. This role-play was created to illustrate good communication practices by demonstrating how “positive story sharing” can lead to more favorable responses.

What Transplant Centers Are Saying: “Authentic and inspirational patient role-play videos on “how to tell your story and ask for help.” These videos were captured from the speaker’s heart—and connect to the hearts of all viewers. Thanks for taking the heavy-lifting out of our never-ending wish list!”  –  Michelle Sturges BSN, RN, CCTC, Living Donor Transplant Coordinator, UC Davis Transplant Center

Role-Play (Transplant Candidate Updates Friend)                                                                     Donor’s Heartfelt Message

What Transplant Centers Are Saying

“This book is a tremendous resource for hopeful transplant candidates.  We purchased several hundred copies for our annual nephrology conference to get this information disseminated to dialysis professionals. Now we need to figure out a way to get this book into the hands of all our waitlisted patients. Best thing in print on this subject!”– Michelle Sturges, BSN, RN, CCTC, Living Donor Transplant Coordinator, UC Davis Transplant Center

“A rare gem—there’s nothing like it out there! I’ve highlighted just about every page. I’ve shared the book with our transplant coordinators and support staff, and they’re using it too! The book includes conversation tools and template letters that take the “heavy lifting” out of helping patients find potential donors.  It’s become an invaluable “go to” resource for our transplant center.”-Charlie Thomas, LCSW, ACSW, FNKF, Social Worker, Transplant Institute Banner University Medical Center -Phoenix

What Dialysis Educators Are Saying

Wonderful book! A great resource for those in need of a kidney transplant. Well written in a positive, empowering style. As a professional nurse educator of kidney patients, I have purchased several copies for our lending library.” – Christa Lawson, RN, BSN, Care Coordinator / Transplant Coordinator, Reach Kidney Care 

What Kidney Patients Are Saying

“We’ve been told to talk to family or friends, but never given specifics on what to say. This guidebook offers scripts, communication tips and several letter templates!  I feel excited about my future again. What a gift!” – D. Patton

Shift Your Fate Book 

Finding Living Donors Book

Disheartened Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients, who feel left in the dark about their future and fear a life-sentence tethered to a machine, now have an opportunity to proactively use their voice to influence better choices. This book offers proactive strategies and life-leaping, destiny-advantages that can dramatically change the odds of standand disease trajectories.  Author and preemptive (live-donor) transplant recipient, Risa Simon and her many fans and followers are living proof that this wildly successful patient-empowerment system works!

This book is a wake-up call and that’s exactly what the author did when she caught herself sleepwalking her way to dialysis. Her goal was to bypass dialysis and secure her best life possible – so she defied her doctor’s “get sicker first” advice and carved her own proactive path to a better future. Now, living her best life ever, she tells her story with dauntless candor and offers “behind-the-curtain” gems to empower, advocate and secure better outcomes.


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