Alia in Daddy's hospital bed, doing his breathing machine.

Brandon Leonard

On Thursday July 20th, I will be donating my left kidney to my brother-in-law Ed who suffers from Polycystic Kidney disease. Ed is the husband of Colleen's older sister Ronna. They live in the Madison area and have two adorable children Kearyn, who will turn four in August, and Nicholas who just turned two. Click on read story to see my entire story.

Ed's family has a heriditary condition that causes cysts to go in some of their kidney's and eventually leads to kidney failure and the need for diaylsis or transplant. A few years ago Ed's doctor let him know that his kidney function was deteriating due to this condition. In December of 2005 his Kidney function reached the point where he was not able to fly, he is a captain with JetBlue. In April Ed was placed on the transplant list. At that time Ronna and Ed let anyone know that if they would like to be tested to be a potential donor that a simple blood test would be all that would be needed. As I read the message over Colleen's shoulder that night I told her that I would be tested, knowing that a non-relative is not likely to be a match. The next week I called Heidi the tranplant coordinator at the UW hospital and indicated that I would like to be tested. After a brief medical questionnaire, I passed the first test, my blood type would be acceptable for the transplant to Ed. She was able to set up a lab draw for me a couple days later at St. Mary's hospital here in Green Bay. The blood draw went fine and the vials were overnighted to Madison for testing the next day. The process with the transplant coordinator is anyamous and the cost for all related tests and procedures is covered by Ed's insurance. We let Ronna and Ed know that I was being tested, they were very appreciative, and that we would have the results withing a few days. My mindset at this time, and has continued to be during this process, is that if God wants me to donate one of my kidneys, that he would clear the path. Being of the analytical mind I figured why put too much worry or "what if's" into my mind if I was not likely to be a match. A few days later Heidi let me know that I was a match, and that Ed and I matched 1 of 6 antigens. Antigens are measure of the tissue typing. 6 of 6 would be a perfect match, so Ed and I are not a close match. Thank God however that the anti-rejection medication has advanced greatly over the last 10 years or so, so not being a close match is not as great of a concern as it once was. After that we waited a few weeks to see if anyone else tested to be a better match. I was the only match so the process moved on. I believe God has been a part of this every step of the way, and this is the best way I personally can show His Amazing love! At this point I let my boss, Jim, know about this process. He was and continues to be extremely supportive of this process. The next step in the process is to determine that I would be healthy enough to donate. On Monday June 5th, Colleen and I spent the day at the UW hospital as underwent the following procedures: 1.) Kidney Function Test (otherwise known as "You pee in this jug".) 2.) Fasting Glucose Test - to determine diabetes risk. 3.) Blood panel 4.) EKG 5.) Chest X-ray 6.) CT scan I also met with the Urulogist, Nephrologist and a social worker to talk about the impact on my family (and to make sure I'm not nuts.) I also got to repeat my medical history three times. I passed all the tests however the doctor was concerned about my glucose test and my liver function (from my excessive drinking of 1 beer a month). A few weeks later I got retesting on the glucose test in Green Bay and they ordered my previous liver function results. Originally it sounded like the transplant would not take place until later this fall, however Ed's condtion has worsened so the transplant is scheduled for Thursday July 20 at the UW Hospital. I will go to the hosital the day before for some additional outpatient testing. The next moring I will check into the hospital and undergo the surgery. It will take appoximately four hours. Shortly after removing my kidney, Ed will recieve it. I will likely be in the hospital for three or four days and then staying at my parents house in De Forest for a few days with Colleen and Ali. I will probably be off of work for 1 to 3 weeks depending on how well my recovery goes. The risk of death is very low (about 3 per 10,000) and long-term my risks are not much higher than a person with two kidneys. I will have to give up my dreams of professional football glory and I can't take up boxing or kickboxing either. I am very excited to give this gift to my family. I can't wait to see Ed enjoy his family and the life he deserves! I'll be updating the journal portion of this website so please stop back for updates. Brandon

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