Two Brothers Show Their Love Through Living Donor Kidney Transplant

Note from Taylor's Gift Foundation: This blog post is reposted from The Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas and was used with their permission. Our team is so inspired by the wonderful work done through The Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas and wanted to share this excellent story about their work. 

    At 21 years old, most of us are out exploring the world and the adventures it has to offer us throughout our lives.  When illness strikes, as it did for Sergio Grifaldo, that world changes drastically.  At this young age, Sergio developed kidney failure and would need a kidney transplant in Dallas.

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Sometimes You Just Know When You Want to be a Living Kidney Donor

Written by Helen Brennan, Living Kidney Donor

When my sister told me that my brother-in-law needed a kidney transplant, I knew I wanted to be tested to be his living donor. I had always liked the idea of organ donation and had registered as a bone marrow donor years before. Plus, I’ve known Andy since high school and consider him a friend as well as family.

When we found out we were the same blood type, I was ready to begin my screening. Andy lives in Houston, so my testing and surgery was done there. I went to Houston to begin the daylong series of tests to ensure not only that I was a match, but also that I was healthy enough to undergo surgery and live with one kidney. I also met with my surgeon, an organ donor advocate, and a social worker.

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My kidneys quit, but I won't give up; I'll look for a living kidney donor

Written by Zach Becker, Dysfunctional Kidney Owner

Today was a good leg day.

That sounds like something I'd say after walking out of the gym high fiving my bros, but today I didn't go to the gym, and no high fives were had. Today, I was able to walk up and down stairs. It was a good leg day.

My name is Zach and in April of this year I was diagnosed with a form of IGA Nephropathy (Berger’s Disease) and since it has aggressively attacked my kidneys and left me with only one option: To find a living kidney donor.

When people talk about “The List”, they’re talking about a what is commonly referred to as a list of people waiting on cadaveric (deceased folks) organs, or kidneys, in this case. I am currently on the list. The wait, in St. Louis, at current, is three and a half years. Living donors allow people like me a chance at both a quicker turn around for transplantation, as well as the fact that kidneys from living donors last much longer than cadaveric kidneys (on average five to seven years longer).

I’ve always seen people on TV cry when they get bad news from a doctor. I didn’t cry. Was I broken? Did my eyes stop working too? No. I was motivated, immediately, to get well. My gears started turning…

I got up from my hospital bed, went to a domain site, discovered that was available, and so I bought it. And so began my journey to find a living kidney donor.

What now?

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Why Volunteer to Donate a Kidney? One Word: LIFE

Written by Sara Fleming, Living Kidney Donor

Because affecting another human being’s life so profoundly would feel amazing.

Because I believe that we all need to help each other out in this big crazy world.

Because there is something that I have, that I don’t need, that could save another person’s life.

But I think the real reason that I decided to donate my kidney… Because what if I had a loved one in need of a kidney and no family or friend was a match, I would have to hope a stranger would step up and help us out… but how can I expect someone else to do that if I’m not willing to do it myself?

Photo: Akiba and I after the transplant

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Joining a Kidney Chain was the Best Thing I've Done with My Life

Written by Tiffany French, Living Kidney Donor

I watched my Grandpa Bud on dialysis for the last years of his life, so I knew a little about kidney disease but not a lot. I’d seen first hand the pain and how much of a person’s life it can consume. I remember he had to go to the dialysis center and be hooked up to a machine for hours a day, several days a week. He had to eat a very restricted diet. He was tired and in pain, and couldn't do any of his favorite things. I think most people only live five to ten years once they’re on dialysis, and with my grandpa’s age and other medical conditions, receiving a kidney transplant wasn’t even an option.

It Never Hurts to Ask, Right?

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The Eleven Minute Decision - Becoming a Living Liver Donor

Written by Andrew Rose, Living Liver Donor

I am an avid social networker, almost annoyingly so if you ask my wife, and spend a lot of time on Facebook. One day in October of 2014, as I scrolled through my newsfeed I noticed a post from my friend Dianna; she was sharing a story from a former student of hers, "Christer Hiort needs a new liver — the only known cure for a disease that has slowly damaged his bile ducts. He’s been on the waiting list for seven months. Christer Hiort is the father of one of my former students and this story is about him,” wrote Dianna. Christer Hiort? I paused. The same Christer Hiort I have worked with the past several years at Ericsson needs a liver? I had no idea. While I worked for Christer on many of his projects for two of his key accounts, we weren't much more than co-workers. Outside of the office I knew very little about his life, and vice versa.

Photo: Andy and Christer recovering from the living liver transplant surgery

Eleven Minutes

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A Moment in Time - Becoming a Living Donor

Written by Tony Bridwell, Living Kidney Donor

There comes a point in each of our lives where we come face-to-face with life changing moments. For some there are several moments; for others maybe just one moment in time where the decision has life altering implications.

For me, there is one moment in time that stands out beyond all others. A decision, I would later understand, with such a ripple effect the impact went well beyond just me.

My Life is Ordinary

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Being an Altruistic Living Donor: Like Holding A Stranger's Winning Lottery Ticket

Written by Mike Koetting, Living Kidney Donor

Many people have asked why I chose to be a living donor; to donate a kidney to a stranger I’ve never met. I explain it like this.

Photo: Mike on the night of surgery

Imagine you have a lottery ticket in your pocket. It is a winning lottery ticket with a jackpot that is so valuable it is literally priceless, but only if you give it away to someone. The odds are very, very small that you would ever be able to use the lottery ticket yourself or even give it to someone you know. So what would you do? Would you keep the winning lottery ticket in your pocket your entire life, literally taking it to the grave? Or would you give it to a stranger and in doing so, dramatically change and perhaps even save their life?

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A Living Kidney Donor's Roller Coaster of Hope

Written by Jill Dillon, Living Kidney Donor

It was September of 2009 and I was seeing patients during a typical busy day in my optometry practice. My mid-morning patient was a guy by the name of Lonnie who I had known on both a professional and personal level for about eight years. During the course of his exam, he mentioned that he was going to need a kidney transplant very soon.

It was at that moment that I had one of the most amazing experiences in my life. Immediately, I heard a voice in my head very clearly say, “tell him you will give him one of yours”. And so I did! He laughed and said he could never ask me to do that. We continued on with the routine exam and even though I’d just experienced something remarkable, I continued on with my day. It seemed like nothing really “happened” but it was in that moment that a seed was planted.

Everything in its Time

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From Friends to Family: A Mother's Life Saving Gift

Written by Tresha Glowacki, Living Kidney Donor

Tresha Glowacki's greatest passion is to serve others.  Whether it's volunteering for her PTO, a charity event, or volunteering her kidney, she lives to serve!

Jun was born with nephrotic syndrome, and after years of trying to save his diseased kidneys, he had to have a double nephrectomy - a surgery that removed both of his kidneys in June of 2010. Jun was on the organ transplant list and had been moved up to a priority status, but that didn't take away the fact that it could still take three to five years to find a donor. Given the fact that he had no kidneys, and depended on daily dialysis of ten to twelve hours, his life span was less than half of the estimated wait time.

I met Jun through a couple of wonderful ladies and friends of mine. One friend, Sandra, had lost her son in February of 2010 due to an accident. Wanting to help another friend and knowing my affiliation with Taylor’s Gift Foundation and organ donor registration, she asked if there was something I could do for Jun. She had hoped trying to save Jun would help her in the loss of her own son; since her son’s passing, she and Jun had grown close and spent lots of time together. She also shared with me that Jun, age 13 at the time, had come to her asking how to prepare his Mom for his own death. That shook me to my core, and I knew I needed to help.

Love at First Sight

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