My name is Steve Brown. I am 35 years old. I live in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and am employed by Quad Graphics for the past 6 years. I am married to my wife Stephanie for 8 years. Together we have 3 beautiful girls, ages 5, 3 &2, which are the light of my life. I am a Christian and a very active member of The Ridge Community Church.
It is hard for anyone to imagine that my kidneys are failing just by looking at me. I was first diagnosed in 2006 with the start of a kidney problem. At first, I understood it to be just a health issue that would require medication and monitoring. However, over the past 10 years, the severity of it has now progressed to stage 4 kidney failure. Currently, my total kidney function is 15% and will continue to worsen over time. It is an incurable disease and unfortunately there is nothing that can be done to stop it. At this point it means there are only 2 options available: dialysis or a kidney transplant. My condition will continue to decline and I will need to be put on dialysis within 6 months to a year, if a kidney donor is not found. Dialysis means a machine functions as my kidneys to remove the toxins and cleanse my blood. However the treatment is only partially effective. It is very hard on the body, and diminishes the quality of life a person could have. Treatments would have to be done at the hospital since we do not have our own home, therefore causing a bigger hardship on my family since we have 3 small children to care for.
The other option is to have a transplant. Currently there are 1600 people waiting for a kidney transplant in Wisconsin alone. Only about 200 will receive transplants from a deceased donor this year. Right now I am currently on the wait list, (for a deceased donor) but that is approximately 5-6 years long. Therefore, I am actively looking for a live kidney donor.
I am not good at asking for help and this is extremely hard. I understand it would take an amazing person to be willing to give me a kidney that would potentially save my life. I would forever be grateful for that person to give me a chance to be able to watch my girls grow up and be a big part of their lives. Without a transplant, I will not be able to do any of those things. As a donor recipient, my ultimate goal is to regain my energy and strength so that I can extend my life expectancy to it's full potential and be able to provide for my family.
Most people aren't aware of the process nor do they realize people can function with only one kidney. So what are the main criteria for someone who would have interest in donating? Live donors must be healthy adults over the age of 18, free of active infections, cancer free, have normal kidney functions with two kidneys, and must not have HIV or any form of Hepatitis. Perhaps one of the most beneficial pieces of information is that all testing and transplant surgery costs are covered by my insurance . Although my blood type is O- which would be my ideal match, it is still possible to be a pair kidney donor if you don't match my blood type. There are several other tests to be done to see if you would be a complete match.
Although I may not have the answers, I will do my best to help in any way I can. Please be patient and understand that I'm still learning and educating myself about all of this. I have found that the following websites can provide additional information and be very helpful with other questions you may have about possibly becoming a donor for me.
If anyone would be interested in donating I'd encourage you to please join me in attending a donor/recipient meeting at Froedert hospital on March 28th from 6-715. They will be able to provide answers to many of the questions you may have. If you have any questions in the meantime, you can also contact a member of the Living Donor Team at (414) 805-0310.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story and possibly help save my life!! God bless you.