My name is Clinton, I am about to turn 35, and I live in the Kansas City area. I am a self-employed Master Electrician, who enjoys my work, but defines myself by what I do when I’m not working.
Most of my life’s most memorable moments have been made outdoors on some sort of adventure. I live a simple life with my four-legged furry fellow adventurer, Coal. I am blessed to have a small, but close-knit group of friends and family who have supported me on all my journeys.
My grandma broke her femur in October of 2017 and had to undergo extensive surgery and rehabilitation. During her recovery, my uncle began feeling ill and ended up in the hospital. He was diagnosed with Goodpasture’s Syndrome in December of 2017. His kidneys had shut down, and he would need to begin dialysis immediately.
His entire world got pulled out from under his feet and turned upside down. Due to complications, he was in and out of the hospital for quite some time. He underwent surgery to have a fistula put in his arm for dialysis. Even under the best of scenario, dialysis only cleans a small fraction of the blood as well as a functioning kidney can. He could no longer work, and it was clear he was suffering emotionally and physically. Dialysis has been keeping him alive, but it is no way to live!
My uncle’s wife volunteered to donate a kidney as soon as he was eligible for a transplant but was ruled out because her kidneys didn’t quite function at a high enough level. My grandma then took a turn for the worse and ended up at home under hospice care until she died in November of 2018.
My mom had a birth defect with one of her kidneys that went unnoticed for years. When it was discovered due to reoccurring infections, the solution was to remove it. I was very young when she had that operation, and she has lived a very healthy and normal life since. I was tested and fortunately, do not have the same condition. I knew you could live with only one kidney, but I had never really thought of being a living donor before. I took some time to clear my head and process my Grandma’s death.
In January 2019 I began seriously contemplating trying to donate to my uncle. I made the first call and got scheduled for the blood test and cross-match. We were compatible! But then questions began flooding my brain. I have been an athlete my entire life. I run very long distances. I put my body through hell on a regular basis. I have never had surgery. Heck, I hardly ever go to the doctor! Was this something I was up for? Would I be able to recover and get back to the activities I enjoy so much?
I love my uncle. I wanted to help, but I didn’t want to ruin my own life. The questions and fear of the unknown seemed to flow without end. It was easy to find general information regarding the average recovery for donors, but I wanted more. Before making a life-altering decision like this, I wanted to know if anyone else who led a lifestyle like I do have done this. I wanted to know what their recovery was like. Could they run again? Did they regret being a living donor?
That’s when I stumbled on Kidney Donor Athletes. Reading all the stories gave me confidence, answered many questions, and made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I scheduled the next round of testing. Everything has come back great and makes me feel even better about my overall health. Our surgeries are scheduled for April 10th. I am still scared because there is certainly risk involved, but I feel much more informed and confident. Thank you to Tracey and all the other athletes who have shared their stories! I hope to help carry the momentum you have created and give others the courage to take on this noble cause.