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Brian's Kidney Transplant Journey

$7,405 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 63 people in 13 months
Created February 12, 2018
As many of you know, my brother Brian is battling Stage 5/End Stage kidney failure.


In February 2016, at the age of 23, Brian started feeling ill and when he started having blurred vision, his eye doctor directed him to immediately go to the hospital. A bit confused he (thankfully) followed their direction. Upon arrival he was informed that his blood pressure was dangerously high.  Once admitted he was placed in ICU so that they could closely monitor him. They begin a very intense round of medication and testing including a kidney biopsy.  

In the midst of this very scary and uncertain time, Brian continued to remain calm (at least on a surface level….because he didn’t want us to worry) and tried to keep a sense of humor.


By this point…he was going stir crazy!

Finally a kidney specialist met with him and informed him that he was being diagnosing with IGA Neuropathy; a condition that typically has little to no symptoms and can go undetected for decades. They believe that Brian started to develop this condition when he was 12-13 years old.  Once he was stable, they determined that his kidneys were functioning at 8-10%. They decided to try and maintain him at this level with medication and diet for as long as possible…

Nearly 5 months to the day, and just 2 weeks after his 24th birthday, Brian was back in ICU.  Once again they were able to get him stable, but the discussion of dialysis and the need for a transplant in the future began.

In November Brian was admitted again, this time his kidney function was estimated to be 2%.


Over the next two weeks he prepped for and underwent surgery to have a catheter placed for peritoneal dialysis. Once placed he had to go through training classes to teach him how to safely connect to his catheter and machine… all while once again trying to keep his sense of humor.


Brian’s girlfriend Ashley posted “Today is the day to turn one page forward into a new chapter of health”

Though this was not the outcome we wanted, we were tired of seeing him suffer and were hopeful that with dialysis that he would start to feel better.

***********************************************************Fast forward 6 months, with great excitement my husband and I sent in applications to be a living donor. Did you know you can live with ONLY one kidney! They choose to test my husband first…he got to the very last specialist and was denied! We were devastated; he had made it so far. As planned I was the backup and my extensive testing began.  In early December 2017 I was denied, but being my usual convincing, sometimes pushy self, I was able to get the donor team to agree to a 2nd opinion.  Once again I was denied. They did not like my family history.

***********************************************************

SO here we are in 2018, nearing the 2 year anniversary of his life changing diagnosis. We are trying to remain patient and positive. I know there is a bigger plan in play than what I can even begin to understand. Now we wait. We wait for someone else to come forward to be tested to be a living donor…or we wait until someone passes who is a match, who chose before they died to give the best gift of all, someone who chose to give the gift of life. I pray daily for my brother, and I also pray for the person who will change all of our lives. I can only try to imagine the weight of such a gift and the gratitude we will all experience.  

Currently Brian is on our dad’s insurance. His out of pocket annual deductible is currently $3,500.00. He reached his out of pocket max in 2016 and in 2017. He will max out early in 2018, but in July he will turn 26 and will have to start on his own insurance. He will then face meeting another high deductible mid-year.

 With his current insurance plan, his dialysis alone is costing nearly $500 PER DAY and his medications are roughly $100 per month.  There are also the costs of; regular office visits, extra lab work, sick visits, missed work, and the unpredictable short stays in the hospital when his body throws a curve ball. All funds received will help ease the burden of this awful disease and allow Brian some financial stress relief.

Will you do me a favor today?  Will you share this story? Will you help me help my brother? There are people in your circle that can relate to this even if you don’t know it. We kept this very quiet as a family until we all had a chance to process and accept where we are in the journey. I now wish I would have told this story as it unfolded in real time. Will you help us?

If you are interested in learning more about being a living donor you can visit:  
https://www.carolinashealthcare.org/medical-services/specialty-care/transplant/kidney-pancreas-transplant
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Today is the big day! We were able to gather together yesterday evening with the donor and his family. We had the most amazing prayer session that ending with us all praying over Brian. What an amazing thing to be able to do and the best family to share all of this with. I truly can not put into words what this day means to us and for us. Please pray for both Brian and his donor. God is so good and so faithful
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It’s Pre-Op day! Brian and his donor are both going through all the necessary testing today to insure that all is right before surgery next Wednesday! Please say a prayer for them as they make their rounds today with the various doctors and procedures they have appointments with. In some ways I feel like I’m dreaming, but we’ve had the honor of meeting the donor and his family and that makes it all so very real. God is so good and his timing is perfect.
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This update is way past due. To say the end of 2018 was a roller coaster ride is an understatement.

Back in the summer before Brian turned 26 we had a family yard sale where we raised $600 by just decluttering our lives. That money was to help Brian with his new deductible that started on his birthday. At 26 you can no longer stay on your parent’s insurance. The greatest gift in that situation is that Brian’s company uses the same insurance company that he previously had so making sure his surgery was still approved was a breeze.

Fast forward to September: Brian got a call from CMC saying they had a kidney and Brian would be third runner up. Within 12 hours he was told the 1st person was not a match so they were moving to the 2nd person. The 2nd runner up was a match. We were all so happy for the recipient as we had already experienced the excitement of “knowing” you had a kidney. So we went back to waiting and praying for our turn.

In early November Brian got a call from the donor coordinator saying that there was a gentleman who saw our story on Fox 46 news and he had requested to be tested. He had already started the process and so far everything was a match. What she needed to know before this man started the more invasive parts of testing was, at his age of late 40s/early 50s would Brian accept his kidney if he was indeed a match. They had previously stated that they were looking for a younger kidney. She told Brian that if this man was not in tip top shape for his age she wouldn’t be asking, but he was the picture of health. Of course Brian said YES! Let him test.

At Thanksgiving Brian was not feeling well and hadn’t been all week. On “Black Friday” our mom was admitted to the hospital, she had had a heart attack and was waiting for a heart cath to further evaluate. We told Brian to stay away from the hospital as he was already sick and we didn’t want to risk him being around the germs. Just 2 days later he himself was admitted to the hospital with a moderate-to-severe bladder infection. He was there for almost 6 days before coming home.

On December 14th Brian texted me, “Call me when you can.” He had just gotten a call from the transplant center. The man who he gave the “all clear” to finish testing was a 100% MATCH! The donor and his family wanted to meet us and Brian wanted me to set it all up. So I built up the courage to call this stranger who was committing to giving the ultimate gift, the gift of life. On December 23rd Brian and I, as well as our significant others and our parents got to meet this amazing man and his wonderful family. Let me tell you…his story of how he came to know about us and what is leading this whole life changing story for both his family and ours is one thing, and that my friends is GOD.

So here we are in January 2019, just shy of the 3 year mark of Brian’s diagnosis and we have set a date. As long as Brian and his donor can both stay healthy for the next 13 days, Brian will get a kidney! It’s so amazing and I still feel like I need to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. So if you will please join us in praying for the health of both families, for the surgeons who will perform this amazing surgery, and for healing. Not only is Brian gaining a kidney and a new life, we are also gaining a new family. There is no way to describe the level of gratitude that we feel for our donor; no gift is good enough, no words can capture the feeling. Gratitude, faith, love, and God have brought us to this point. January 30th will be an amazing, life changing day. Thank you for following us through this journey. I pray my next update is on the other side of our journey.
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Check us out on Fox46 (WJZY) tonight at 10pm with Brett Baldeck. I will share the link when it becomes available. We are so grateful for this opportunity!
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$7,405 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 63 people in 13 months
Created February 12, 2018
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