My mom and stepdad need your help. In October 2015, Kevin started having pain in his shoulders and legs. He spent November going from doctor to doctor without anyone knowing what was wrong with him. By Thanksgiving, he was in the hospital, where doctors told him he was lucky to still be alive.
Kevin was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called Anca Vasculitis. By the time he was diagnosed, the disease had caused his kidneys to fail. Throughout most of 2016, Kevin was constantly sick from the drug treatments he received and unable to do anything that required physical exertion. Most people don’t know that this was going on while he was finishing writing his new North Carolina Waterfalls book. He had to leave out some waterfalls because of it and he had to get a friend of his to make some of the hikes for him.
By 2017, Kevin was feeling much better, but his kidneys were getting worse and he still couldn’t do hard hikes like he used to do. In November of 2017, he was placed on the kidney transplant list. Soon after, his doctor told him that his kidney failure had reach Stage 5 and that he would have to start dialysis while he awaited a new kidney.
Anyone who knows my stepdad knows that having a disease that prevents you from doing physical activity is like a death sentence for him. But he has kept a positive attitude and even managed to go hiking every once in a while. Through his strength and my mom's support, he was able to continue doing his job of leading photo tours (although he had to cut back on that as well). But going on dialysis for 4 hours a day, 3 days a week, would pretty much mean the end to all that.
What Kevin needed was an angel, and with happy tears running down my face I get to say: that’s exactly what he got! My mom, Patricia, is going to donate one of her kidneys to him. Talk about soul mates. The transplant is scheduled for October 23 in Chapel Hill.
Kevin has missed a lot of work and they’ve paid nearly $50K on medical bills and expenses since he got sick. He currently has insurance to pay for the transplant, but his deductible is sky high and insurance will only cover the transplant, not all the other costs they will incur such as time missed from work and travel expenses. And he will have to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his life, which currently cost $17K a year. Medicare will cover the cost of the drugs for 3 years, but after that, he is on his own.
My mom and stepdad are good, caring people who would do anything to help others in need. With all of the expenses they now face, I think they could use some help themselves.