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Author Topic: In need of a kidney, Kansas City-area man turns to Facebook in search of a donor  (Read 2732 times)

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In need of a kidney, Kansas City-area man turns to Facebook in search of a donor
Terra Hall
8:14 PM, Sep 3, 2015

Watch video http://www.kshb.com/thenow/in-need-of-a-kidney-kansas-city-area-man-turns-to-facebook-in-search-of-a-donor

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - It was 3 years ago that polycystic kidney disease made Kevin Heuerman 's healthy kidneys begin to fail.

"It's supposed to be hereditary and your family, but unfortunately I drew the short straw and I got it," Heuerman said. "I have a 50-50 chance of passing it onto my children."

While he saw specialists and doctors, it wasn't until he turned to an unlikely source that he began to get real relief.

"My wife and my sister came up with an idea. Facebook," he explained. "I woke up the next morning and had 150 likes on this page that I had no idea about. It took off like wildfire. I'm actually going to the transplant part of it now at Research Hospital and they called us up and said, 'We don't know what you did, but you have 100 people call in a day.'"

Today, his page 'Kevin Needs a Kidney ' has nearly a thousand likes, all from supporters wanting to help -- even if that means giving away one of their kidneys.

"If I have found my donor, they're my hero," he said. "They will always be my hero."

A normal kidney is the size of a fist, but for a patient like Heuerman living with PKD, each kidney can swell to the size of a football. That's why for those patients in need of an organ they're reaching out to social media to find a donor.

"Rather than waiting, people do have to take matters into their own hands and they do have to start marketing themselves for a kidney," said Jackie Hancock, the CEO of the PKD Foundation.

And it's working. Search Facebook with the term, 'I need a kidney' and hundreds of pages populate. But will this new trend lead to a spike in black market organ sales? Hancock guesses no.

"It is so frowned upon here and it's almost socially not even acceptable to do that here," Hancock said. "You're going to have some outliers, but I think the system is set up so that that doesn't happen as much as it does in other countries."

Which is a relief for patients like Heuerman who want nothing but to find a living donor willing to make a sacrifice so he can see his kids grow up.

"Maybe I will strike gold and find one," Heuerman said. "I hope so. Until then I'm going to keep fighting."

There are 122,000 people on the organ donor waiting list, and 22 of them die every day.

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Terra Hall can be reached at terra.hall@kshb.com .

You can also follow her on Twitter .
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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