My Turn

Doreen Heintz
Sports Editor

Dear Santa,
I know I am way too old to ask you for anything, but I thought I might just give it a shot. About a year ago, my 24-year-old son was diagnosed with Alport Syndrome. The rare genetic disease causes chronic kidney failure. He is now on dialysis and will continue to be on dialysis until a kidney is found for him.
In August, Mike and I traveled to Spokane to see if he qualifies for a kidney transplant. After several tests and meetings, the transplant team at the Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center approved Mike for a transplant.
Now comes the wait.
The transplant team told us it maybe between 3 to 5 years before a kidney comes available from a deceased donor. The wait could be cut way short if we could find a living donor for Mike. My age disqualifies me from being a donor. Also, Mike’s birth mother and birth sisters cannot donate, as they may be carriers for Alport Syndrome. Unfortunately, we do not know much about Mike’s birthfather’s family.
I thought through your travels on Christmas Eve you could let people know that anyone can be a kidney donor. A person only needs one kidney to carry on all functions. But it also takes a very special person to take the chance of donating a kidney and then having only one.
While there is always a chance for the rejection of the kidney, a kidney from a living donor usually lasts much longer than one from a deceased donor. It is my hope that with a kidney transplant Mike will be able to live a more normal life for the next several years.
Anyone who might be interested in seeing if s/he is a candidate for a kidney for Mike can call the following toll-free number: (800)-667-0502. This number is for the kidney transplant program of Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane. All calls are confidential.
Living-donor medical costs and immediate follow-up are paid by Mike’s insurance.  A person can also find out more about being a living donor at Once a person has decided to begin the donation process, they can also decide to withdraw from being a donor at any time.
Santa, I know this is a big request, as Mike is just one of over 60,000 people in the United States waiting for a kidney transplant, but maybe increased awareness will give Mike and others like him a chance for a normal life.


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