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Wife to donate kidney to Britt native
« on: June 05, 2011, 03:24:26 PM »
Wife to donate kidney to Britt native

By EMILIE NELSON For The Globe Gazette | Posted: Saturday, June 4, 2011 5:07 pm | (0) Comments

BRITT - When Jake Gear married his wife, Annie, nine years ago, it was a match meant to be in more ways than one.
Gear, a Britt native and 1988 graduate of Britt High School, received a kidney transplant at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics a few years prior to his marriage. After the transplant he was able to move on and lead an active life as a professional firefighter with the North Kipsap Fire & Rescue in Kingston, Wash.
"I was born with just one kidney," Gear said. "We've never really been given an explanation on what might have caused it, just that I had end-stage renal failure."
About a year ago, Gear once again learned he was experiencing renal failure and would need another transplant. Since then, he has spent about 12 hours a week on dialysis, going for treatments every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning.
Already given a second chance at life once, the reality of what he would be going through again, Gear said, was a bit hard to grasp at first.
"It was difficult to deal with, especially in the beginning," he said. "I had it pretty good the first time around; was only on dialysis about six months when I received the transplant, so I never really realized just what an ordeal kidney disease truly is.
"Having to retire from a job I loved and going through kidney failure again, that was tough."
Even in the midst of the initial shock and disappointment that the kidney had failed, Gear and his wife knew there was hope for a new life again. He has Type B blood. His wife has Type O, making her a universal donor.
"You have to match blood types, or receive a Type O donor," Gear said. "I just joke and say I married her for her Type O blood, just in case."
The couple began the donor process in Washington to see if Annie Gear would truly be a good donor for her husband, but it was discovered that Jake Gear had high antibodies, making it extremely difficult to find a new kidney.
"That was because of the first transplant," Jake Gear said. "It was kind of a bummer; because of the antibodies I would reject her kidney. It was going to be hard to get a donor I wouldn't reject."
Jake Gear wouldn't take "no" for an answer and began researching on his own. That's when he came across a program for potential organ recipients with high antibody levels at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
"We did the necessary appointments there in October and December, and I got on their transplant list," Jake Gear said. "Then Annie went through the tests and was able to be a donor."
The couple was put on the donor exchange list with the possibility of finding more compatible donors, but the best match to be found for Gear is his wife's kidney.
The Gears will once again travel to Rochester this week where they will find out the timeline for the transplant process on Friday. It will mark the fifth round trip from Washington to Minnesota for the couple. When in the Midwest for appointments they have been staying with Jake's mother, Diana Wells of Britt. His grandmother, Betty Carter, also lives in Britt.
To help with travel and medical expenses, Gear's cousin, Erin Brown, has established an account for the couple at First State Bank in Britt to cover the hotel stays, follow-up appointments and medications that will follow the transplant.

Emilie Nelson is a reporter for the Britt News-Tribune, a Lee Enterprises newspaper.

Daughter Jenna is 31 years old and was on dialysis.
7/17 She received a kidney from a living donor.
Please email us: kidney4jenna@gmail.com
Facebook for Jenna: https://www.facebook.com/WantedKidneyDonor
~ We are forever grateful to her 1st donor Patrice, who gave her 7 years of health and freedom


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