A Kidney for Gary

Gary Baker is my dad and one of the strongest and  hardest workers I've ever known! Before his strength left him, he stayed busy building houses. He also dedicated several years as a City of Richmond Fire Fighter. He worked hard all of his life until Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) slowed him down.  In June of 2007, his kidneys stopped functioning. This is when he began living on dialysis. Both kidneys had to be removed in October of that same year.  

His journey of kidney transplants started at Duke Hospital in Raleigh, NC with his best friend from High School in October of 2008.  This first transplant was scheduled for July but in June, 10 inches of his colon had to be removed.  He was given a stoma for two months until his colon healed.  

October 27, 2008, he went in for surgery to recieve this kidney.  After 4 surgeries, and only 5 days, they found that the kidney was no longer functioning and it had to be removed.  

On May 18, 2009, his son-in-law (my husband) was approved as a donor and they went back into surgery to try again.  Again, the urine flow was weak and the kidney did not seem to be functioning correctly.  A week later, they went in and the kidney was black and had to be removed.

In September of 2009, Duke wrote a letter stating that they did not know what happened or why he could not have a functioning kidney transplant so they closed their doors and ask him to go elsewhere.  After much research, in March of 2010 we went to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD.  This time his sister-in-law (my mom's sister) wanted to donate her kidney but she was not a match for him.  Johns Hopkins did a cross match to a couple in Ohio who needed a transplant.

After quite a bit of testing, August 26, 2010, we were set up for surgery to receive a kidney from the Ohio couple.  The Ohio recipient was (and still is!) doing great with her kidney from the sister-in-law, but Gary’s new kidney’s function started slowing down.  As a last resort to save the kidney, Dr. Montgomery did a splenectomy on August 29th.  September 12, 2010, Gary was in excruciating pain.  They took him into the OR and found that the kidney “bled out”.  Again, the kidney was removed. 

In January of 2012, he had to have shoulder surgery.  In  May of 2013, he underwent open heart surgery to replace a valve.  In July of 2014, he was hospitalized for 2 weeks due to a blood infection.  They thought they had it all cleared up, but only 4 months later, he was back in the hospital for the same blood infection.  My dad has been through A LOT!  He is obviously still here for a reason! 

I have wanted to be a donor this whole time, but I had to be 35 years old before they would consider me a candidate. I was 32 when I pushed them to start the process in 2013. Just a few months into the donor work up, I got pregnant and had to put a hold on the process.  We are now back in the works for this donation. His former doctor, Dr. Montgomery, was hesitant to try again but after testing, he stated that this is either a "cruel joke or a blessing from God". I am a PERFECT match!    

Now everything seems to be a “Go Ahead” but because Gary is a problematic patient, they want him to come to Baltimore 2 weeks before surgery and stay in Baltimore two months after the transplant takes place before he can go home.  He will need a caregiver with him the whole time.  

I am asking for donations to help my parents out with this expense.  Housing in Baltimore is expensive as well as parking and food! There are no grants available for transplant recepients and there is no way my parents can afford this with my dad being disabled and my mom being the sole income in the house.  ANYTHING you can give would be GREATLY appreciated!  Thank you for your generosity and prayers for a successful 4th attempt! I KNOW this one will work!!


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Organizer and beneficiary

Sandi Hall 
Littleton, NC
Debbie Baker 
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