WHAT IS WRONG WITH MIKE'S KIDNEYS?
Mike has polycystic kidney disease (PKD), inherited from his father, who died in March of 2002 at 67 after 20 years of dialysis and transplants. PKD leads to kidney failure before the age of 50 in 50% of those who are born with it. It affects roughly 600,000 people in the US alone. PKD kidneys are riddled with fluid filled cysts and can become grossly enlarged (trust us, don't google it) and cause serious back and abdominal pain. There are numerous other symptoms ranging from liver cysts to urinary tract infections to strokes. All of it leads to end stage renal disease (ESRD, aka kidney failure). It does not discriminate and affects both sexes and all races equally.
THERE IS NO CURE.
Right now Mike is doing OK, but every day it gets worse. He gets worn out by an average day, is on a restricted diet (his kidneys don't filter out things like potassium very well and too much potassium will cause a heart attack or stroke), takes several daily medications, and is working many fewer hours than he would like.
Without a transplant soon Mike will have to go on dialysis, which is no picnic. Ask anyone who has tried it. Mike's father was on dialysis three times, prior to each of his deceased donor transplants, and we REALLY want to avoid this for Mike. A lot has changed since Mike's father went through all that and the opportunities for a GREAT recovery with a timely living donation is real and we desperately want Mike to have that chance.
If you want to learn more about polycystic kidney disease THE PKD FOUNDATION is a wonderful organization that provides information and support to PKD patients and funds important research. We've supported the cause and raised money at every PKD Walk in the Boston area (and one in Arizona!) for the last 10 years.