Never in a million years would I have imagined I would have to write this story. In late January our family was utterly devastated when my son Chad, at age 29, was diagnosed with acute renal failure/end-stage kidney disease due to a condition called IGA nephropathy (a/k/a Berger’s disease). This came on quite suddenly and the initial symptoms were barely detectable. He began dialysis immediately after the diagnosis and has since been participating in dialysis three times a week. The only option for him to have any chance at getting a normal life back is a kidney transplant. Initially, we were very optimistic about this because Chad has a twin brother, Kyle, whom we all thought would be a great candidate as a donor. Unfortunately, Berger’s disease is genetic in nature and even though Kyle would have been a match, the doctors were reluctant to proceed that route because of Kyle’s potential predisposition to the same problem.
Quite a few friends and family members contacted Duke Medical for initial questionnaires and were willing to be tested as potential donors. Several of us passed the initial criteria and were given blood test kits. One person was selected for further testing at Duke Medical and on May 15, 2017, our prayers were answered when we learned that my cousin (and, appropriately, godson), Tom Nooyen, was informed that the transplant team accepted him as a donor! You can believe that there were many tears of joy shed! Surgery is now scheduled for July 10!
We initially thought that there would be a travel allowance under Chad’s personal health insurance to cover the travel costs for Tom, not only for the transplant but for the required follow up care, hotel costs, etc. So far all of our efforts to obtain any type of financial assistance have not been successful. We’re figuring that total incidental expenses could easily reach $5,000.00 between Tom’s initial visit, travel for the transplant, and any follow up evaluations required.
I know there are many GoFundMe pages out there, but this is truly a situation where one person is risking his own life and health to help another human being. Tom has always been the type of person who would do anything for family or friends and right now his sense of selflessness is unmatched. He’s an amazing husband and father; just think of the lesson he is teaching his children through this donation about the importance of family, sacrifice, and life.
I can’t think of a more deserving cause. Any help that you can provide is appreciated from our entire family. I would love to see donations surpass our goal and if by the grace of God that happens, we will contact Duke Medical/UNOS and help another family in need.