top of page Searching for hope: Rockford man seeks kidney donor to overcome disease

Nikelle Delgado | August 10, 2023

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — In 2019, Mike Disciacca was diagnosed with Stage 4 polycystic disease, a kidney disease.

“Your kidneys start developing cysts, basically. And as a cyst progresses, your kidneys start to degrade and you start losing kidney function and they start to fail,” he explained.

He says he inherited a genetic predisposition for the disease from his mother.

“She’s actually going through the same exact thing right now, as well,” he said.

Disciacca had both of his kidneys removed in May, and now has dialysis three times a week, for 4 and a half hours at a time.

“That’s a hard one to come to terms with and accept. That’s probably been one of the worst things for me, because up until all this, I mean, I had been pretty active. I mean, I’d go to work and I’d be playing with cars probably until eight, 9:00 at night. I’d get home and we’d be playing around in the garage and everything else. And I just can’t do half of it anymore now. I really want to, too. It sucks,” he said.

He found a donor through the National Donor Registry, and a transplant was planned for January, but the donor backed out.

Now, he has taken his request for a living kidney donor to social media.

“I just [want to] get the word out and see, try to get as many eyeballs as possible. Because, I mean, I know there’s somebody out there. It’s just a matter of finding that right person,” he said.

A donor who matches with his blood type can donate a kidney; someone who doesn’t match can donate on his behalf, which bumps him up on the donor list.

“That way, everybody wins,” he said. “I mean, they still find an organ to give to somebody that can use it. And then it still moves me up a lot faster, to where I’m I’m having to wait weeks or maybe months instead of years.”

Disciacca hopes to inspire others to get tested, and raise awareness of polycystic kidney disease.

“If we can find a donor, this — I mean, I get my life back. I can finally move on. I can finally do what I want to do. But I mean, even if it doesn’t work out for me, just getting it out there to where someone else can get help do that, that would mean the world to me,” he said.

More information can be found on Disciacca’s Facebook page. Those interested in seeing if they are a match should contact the University of Chicago transplant coordinators, (312) 996-8002.

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