My own son, Michael aged 24, developed End Stage Renal Disease last year and I thought my world would stop. Young, vibrant, away at college and skydiving just a week before, when he called me to tell me he was talking to a kidney specialist at a Northern California hospital, my
How is it that an otherwise healthy young man can show no signs of a deteriorating kidney disease and all of a sudden end up in an Emergency Room with twenty times harmful levels of toxins.
There was whispering among the staff and eyes were lowered when they approached our family. Of course, I thought. He is going to die and my sadness could find no bounds.
The signs of kidney failure are subtle, I have discovered. Knowing what causes kidney failure should be posted on every refrigerator door in every kitchen in America. The reason is that there is no cure and the treatment is such a difficult path. Once one kidney starts to shut down, the other one follows, and the end result is kidney dialysis, something no parent wants to watch a kid endure.
Many doctors are not trained to test for kidney function, but they should listen to Warren Buffet, the greatest stock picker of all time. He recently acquired an eleven percent stake in DaVita Health Care, the largest provider of dialysis care in the world. Dialysis patients are growing annually and those waiting on a transplant list are in for a long struggle.
My son is fortunate in many ways. The result of his short illness quickly launched his family into motion and within a month he had three living donors at his doorstep, ready and willing to give one of their kidneys. Waiting for a deceased donor was out of the question for our family.
Loma Linda transplanted the kidney from Kellen, his best friend, into my son in 183 days. 48 people gathered in the waiting room at Loma Linda Medical Center to wait the news and when it came I could wish for nothing else in life. But we were not yet finished. This grief, the horrific pain we endured also launched The Charles and Jennie Machado Foundation, which in turn started LiveKidneydonation.org, a site connecting kidney patients with potential donors through video.
The boys are fine. Both are busy at life, riding waves, playing ball and getting on with college. Though we still share tears, our family is much larger now as the kidney community puts their trust in our efforts to help them. Be a part of it by visiting our website.