Hometown: Melbourne, Florida
Transplant: Kidney, 1996
My Story: I was diagnosed with Alport's Syndrome when I was three years old, but really never had any problems with that type of kidney disease. Towards the end of March in 1996 when I was 14 years old, I started to get very sick. A few days went by, and then my Dad took me to the hospital at Patrick Air Force Base where he was stationed. My kidneys had failed and my condition was so bad, the doctors thought I would go into cardiac arrest. It took about seven hours for them to stabilize me enough to be transported to Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando. The next day, I went into surgery. They put a 10" long tube into the left side of my abdomen so I could start peritoneal dialysis, which is a process where a glucose based solution is pumped into my abdominal cavity to cleanse and filter my blood since my kidneys were not functioning. I was hooked up to a dialysis machine for about twelve hours every night, and was able to lead a fairly normal life during the day. I was placed on the transplant list in July 1996, and after only three weeks (the average wait is about two years) on August 16th, I received a call from my mom and dad while I was at school and found out I was to receive a new kidney. We went to Florida Hospital in Orlando and I was transplanted late that night. I was home schooled for about eight weeks before I was able to go back to school. To me, the most important thing in my life is knowing that someone's family, of whom I do not know or have never met, made the decision to donate that person's organs. That decision saved my life. Now, things are back to normal, with the exception of the large amount of pills I have to take.
My Message to the World: I still play baseball, bowl, play golf, and all the other things I used to do before my kidneys failed. The one thing I notice now is that people can't tell by looking at me that I've had a kidney transplant. I can still do things just as well, if not better, than people who don't have a medical condition.
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