The transplant journey is different for everyone, and you might feel like the only one in your community going through it. By connecting people, we can create a community of people with a bank of experiences.
A mentor shares information about his or her experience with a mentee, as well as provides guidance, motivation, and emotional support.
Throughout the transplant journey of the evaluation process, waiting for the call, having the surgery, recovering, and then adjusting to a “new normal” life after transplant, can be a relief from illness, but also be emotional and stressful. Everyone will feel happiness, fear, helplessness, confusion, anger, guilt, and other intense emotions. Support from friends, family and the transplant center team can help, but talking to someone who has been through a similar situation is the best inspiration for keeping a good attitude to realize positive outcomes.
The Mentor Program, a program of Transplant Community Alliance in collaboration with Banner Transplant Institute, Dignity Health, and Mayo Clinic, can provide assistance.
A trained mentor can be a source of reassurance and support for anyone at any point in the transplant journey: preparing for an evaluation, candidates on the waitlist, recipients, caregivers, family members, friends, or supporters.
The Mentor Program provides one-on-one contact between people living successfully with a transplant and people who are new or adjusting to the world of transplantation. The Mentor Program will have trained mentors (recipients, caregivers, spouses, parents of child recipients, living donors, and other family members) who have a desire to help support others through the transplantation process. All organ groups, living donors, and each Arizona transplant center are to be represented in the Mentor Program. Mentors provide hope and encouragement, share their personal experiences, and most importantly, are good listeners.
Mentors offer support on an as-needed basis from a simple phone call, online interaction, or personal meeting. Unlike a support group, in a mentoring relationship, real-life experiences are shared and even the smallest questions get answered privately and confidentially.
How does it work?
Mentors can sign up with Transplant Community Alliance’s Program Director and receive basic training. Mentors will be grouped by transplant center, transplant organ, transplant role (recipient, caregiver, spouse, living donor, etc.), and gender. All of the Arizona transplant centers will be consulted and enrolled in the program so they can refer patients to the program.
The Program Director will match the family’s situation with available Mentors and initiate contact between the Mentor(s) and the family. More than one Mentor-Mentee relationship might be established within a single family.
Caregivers are of particular concern because the recipient is constantly the center of care and attention. But the Caregiver is expected to sacrifice their lives for the benefit of the recipient. This can create significant stresses within the psyche of the caregiver.
Mentor volunteers will be trained on basic confidentiality, medical adherence, and listening. Additional training will be provided annually. Banner offers training for Mentors that would like to provide in-patient support and visits.
Need someone to talk to?
We can match you up with a person that has a similar experience and wants to listen to you and offer support. Ask your transplant coordinator, social worker, clinician or call the Alliance at 602-277-2661 and ask to speak to a Mentor.
Email questions to info@TransplantAZ.org
We are grateful for the advice given by the Georgia Transplant Foundation and Banner Transplant Institute to recreate this program in 2019
Want to be a Mentor?
As a Mentor, you could provide confidence and encouragement to other patients moving through the process. To become a mentor, you must be 6 months post-surgery and referred by a healthcare professional or your transplant team, living successfully with your transplant or donation, and able to complete the half-day training session.
To become a mentor, call Tracy at 602-277-2661.