TRENTON, N.J. -- Dozens of people from around the country
are interested in donating a kidney to New Jersey Nets star Alonzo
Gregory Perrin of the Kidney and Urology Foundation of America
said his organization received about 60 calls Tuesday and
Wednesday, seeking information on how to become a donor.
About half the callers asked specifically about donating a
kidney to Mourning, said Perrin, the organization's director of
marketing and development. Other callers were interested in organ
donation in general.
Mourning declined to comment Wednesday through agent Jeff
Wechsler, who said potential donations were a private matter.
The outpouring followed Monday's announcement that Mourning
needs a kidney transplant and will have to retire. He suffers from
focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.
"We're regretful that Mr. Mourning has to go through this, but
at the same time he's an inspiration," Perrin said from his New
York office. "He's stepped forward to talk about his disease over
the years, and that takes a lot of the fear factor away for
The 33-year-old player was diagnosed with the disease before the
2000-01 season while with Miami. He missed the first 69 games of
that season but played the full 2001-02 season, averaging 15.7
points and 8.4 rebounds. He missed all of last season.
In his comeback this year, he played in 12 games for the Nets,
averaging 8.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 17.9 minutes. He looked
exhausted when he left the court for a breather during his final
Mourning was notified about the latest developments Sunday by
Dr. Gerald Appel, a kidney specialist at Columbia University
Medical Center. He was told his kidney function had deteriorated in
recent weeks and the chemical imbalances in his blood made it
dangerous for him to play.
Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, known as FSGS, affects the
filters of the kidney that are responsible for removing toxins from
the urine. It frequently does not produce symptoms and can only be
diagnosed through a kidney biopsy. There is no single cause of
According to statistics compiled by the Kidney and Urology
Foundation, about 83,000 people await organ transplants in the
United States, including 57,000 awaiting kidney transplants. Perrin
said, on average, 17 people die each day waiting for an organ
Potential donors undergo psychological and medical tests to
determine if their motives are altruistic, said Anne Paschke, a
spokeswoman for the United Network for Organ Sharing, the
organization that manages the nation's transplant system and
maintains the national organ waiting list.
About 20 percent of patients who receive a transplant suffer a
recurrence of FSGS, said Dr. Ira Greifer, a professor of pediatric
nephrology at Montefiore Medical Center in New York and the
president of the Kidney and Urology Foundation.