This is a difficult letter to write. For those of you who do not know me, my name is Mark Lehman and I am 54 years old and I need your help. I have been diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease and I will need to start dialysis soon unless I receive a kidney transplant.
In 2004, I was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy, an autoimmune disorder that causes my kidney function to slowly deteriorate over time. At that time, I was told I would need a kidney transplant or dialysis within 4 years. Through diet and exercise, I managed to extend my kidney function until now. At the time of diagnosis, my GFR – a measure of kidney function – was 35 (60-90 is considered normal) and it is now at 12. Dialysis normally starts at around 10.
I have always been an active person – I enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, traveling and studying martial arts – so this has been and will continue to be a big adjustment for me. As the toxins gradually build up in my system, I become tired more easily and don’t have the stamina I used to. Starting dialysis will greatly impact my desire to continue to travel and enjoy an active productive life. I am currently working full time; I really enjoy my job and plan on working another 10 years before retiring.
My hope is to get a kidney transplant so I don’t have to go on dialysis. One option is a kidney from a deceased donor; I have been on this list for 2 years through Froedtert Hospital/Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. I chose Froedtert because of the excellent success rate they have for transplant surgery. There are over 80,000 people on the kidney transplant waiting list and many wait over 5 years for a kidney from a deceased donor. The waiting list has doubled in size over the past 10 years - and it continues to grow.
Fortunately, living kidney donation is also a viable option. Many people don’t know this, but a healthy person can donate a kidney and still live a wonderful healthy life. If at any time a person decides that donating a kidney isn’t for them, they can back out with no questions asked. A potential donor will have their own team of health professionals - separate from the kidney recipient - watching out for their best interest. All donor costs will be covered by my insurance.
A kidney transplant is a second chance at a healthy life for me. Please help share my story with others who may be willing to help raise awareness for my situation. My blood type is A+ and, aside from renal failure, I am in good health; no diabetes, no heart disease, no cancer. I am a good candidate for a transplant. If you would like more information, you can contact Froedtert Transplant Center: http://www.froedtert.com/transplant/kidney-transplant/living-donor
Or if you would consider being screened as a potential donor: http://www.froedtert.com/transplant/kidney-transplant/living-donor/how-to-donate
Again, thank you with all my heart. Your support and your prayers are always appreciated. Mark