Paul moved his family to Illinois in the summer of 2004. During a routine visit with a doctor, he learned he had been misdiagnosed with liver disease years ago. Instead, he had been living with IGA Nephropathy. This causes kidney inflammation and eventually your kidney is unable to filter waste from your blood.
Paul was told he could maintain enough kidney function to last into his late 50’s without needing to go on dialysis or receive a new kidney. This would give him almost 25 years before needing to seriously consider his options. Only ten years later, doctors broke the news that Paul’s kidney function declined quicker than they had projected. He was diagnosed with stage 5 renal failure.
Paul joined the transplant list and immediately began dialysis. In Illinois, the average time a patient spends on the transplant list is 5 to 7 years. To speed up the process Paul’s family and friends offered to be tested as living donors. To their surprise, Paul’s wife, Jenifer, met the initial criteria to be a match.
After a month of testing, the results were in. Paul and Jenifer were a perfect match! In early October of 2014, the couple underwent a successful transplant surgery. They say their new normal includes, drinking a lot of water and Paul takes medication twice a day, but now they are able to live happy and healthy lives.
In 2017, Paul decided to give back and join the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois’ Board of Directors. He sits on our programs committee and provides crucial insight on kidney disease and transplant patients.
“When you find a friend in need, be willing to give a smile or a kidney because you never want precious moments to go undone. There is always time to give your love.” - Jenifer