Walk for Kidneys Team Spotlight: Evan’s Angels

June 10, 2015
CHICAGO, IL

Evan’s Angels: In Honor of Evan Simms and Megan Craig

In 2011, Megan Craig felt compelled to donate part of her liver. When the doctors couldn’t take her partial liver donation, they suggested Megan donate one of her kidneys. “I accidentally became a kidney donor. I forgot I had kidneys,” Megan recalls.

Megan’s kidney recipient, Evan, was just 20 months old when he received his new kidney. Prior to the donation, Evan had spent his entire life on dialysis, in hospitals, instead of learning and playing with friends. Evan was born with multicystic dysplastic kidney, a condition where the kidney is covered with cysts of varying sizes. Through the donor kidney exchange program, Evan’s aunt, Mary, donated her kidney in order for him to be in a chain. Megan was then matched to Evan within chain, and a total of four people were able to receive lifesaving kidneys.

Of the 120,000 Americans currently on the waiting list for a lifesaving organ transplant, more than 100,000 need a kidney, but fewer than 17,000 people receive one each year. Every day 14 people die waiting for a kidney. Living kidney donation helps others, such as Evan, by giving them a second chance at life.

Four years after receiving Megan’s kidney, Evan is happy and beginning kindergarten this fall. “I am growing and catching up for all the time I missed when I was in the hospital,” Evan says. Though he’s only five, Evan is grateful to be healthy and out of the hospital.

Today, Megan and Evan have formed a familial bond and a shared passion to promote education and awareness about kidney health. Evan further explained, “I am so proud of my Aunt Mary and my new family Megan for not only helping me to be the first kidney transplant chain at Lurie Children's Hospital, but also for giving me and two others this chance at really living!”

Megan adds, “[Donating my kidney] totally changed my outlook. I come from a small family, and now I have a large extended family in Evan, his sister and cousins.” Megan uses her new perspective on organ donation and kidney disease to raise awareness of kidney health. She wears buttons to prompt others to ask questions, and she wrote an article in the Chicago Tribune about her experience as a living donor.

“People don’t realize you can donate [a kidney] when you’re living,” Megan said.

Megan, team captain of Evan’s Angels at this year’s Walk for Kidneys, will be joined by Evan and their family members on June 21 at Soldier Field. Since late April, Evan’s Angels has raised over $2,500.To make a donation or read more about Evan’s Angels Walk for Kidneys team, click here. To register your own Walk for Kidneys team, visit www.nkfi.org/events/walk.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

 

About the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois
The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois improves the health and well-being of people at risk for or affected by kidney disease through prevention, education and empowerment.