Add To Favorites In PHR
Jacksonville resident searching for live donor for kidney transplant
Daily News - 6/24/2018
June 24--For Jacksonville resident Arnold Hedgpeth the weekend is his one break from a week full of dialysis and doctor appointments.
But each visit to the VA Medical Center in Fayetteville or to dialysis every other day keeps Hedgpeth as healthy as possible as he waits for life-saving news.
"I can't get a (kidney) transplant if I'm not physically fit for it," Hedgpeth said this week as he talked about his search for a donor.
Hedgpeth, 68, a Vietnam War veteran who served 24 years in the Army as an intelligence officer, was diagnosed with kidney disease about eight years ago and is now in "end stage" renal disease and in need of a kidney transplant.
"About three years ago I got into dialysis and that is when you go from stage 4 to stage 5 kidney disease, or end stage," he said.
Since then, Hedgpeth has been doing whatever he can to find a live donor.
He's taken out advertisements in the newspaper and has printed up cards he passes out to everyone he meets and places he goes.
"If we go down to Bojangles to grab a bite to eat, I'll leave a card on the table," he said.
Hedgpeth is raising his grandson, Nicholas, who is 11, and proudly talks about his achievements in school.
"He got all A's this year," he said.
Hedgpeth said he's fighting to stay healthy but there is no way to know for certain how long the dialysis keeping him alive will maintain.
His hope is to find a donor as soon as possible.
He is currently on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) list to receive a kidney if a match from a deceased donor becomes available.
However, he said, even if a patient is ranked at the top of the list it doesn't mean they'll be the next to get a transplant. There are a number of criteria to be a match, including blood and tissue type, medical urgency, waiting time, expected benefit and geography.
According to the National Foundation for Transplants, there are more than 95,000 people in the United States waiting for a kidney and the average wait time can be anywhere from 5 to 10 years.
"Finding a live donor is better for the kidney and would be a way to get a transplant sooner," he said.
In the case of a live donor, he said, it would be a decision between the donor and recipient only.
The first step is finding people who may be interested and would be tested to see if they'd be a match.
Hedgpeth said he'd like the opportunity to talk to them and share information about himself and answer any questions they may have. If they are interested in being tested he can refer them to the Vidant Medical Center Living Donor Program in Greenville, which is where he would have the transplant.
"Almost everybody is going to have questions, and I would, too," he said.
If they were a match, further evaluation would still be required to see if they are eligible to be a donor.
Hedgpeth said his siblings and his three sons have been tested and were matches but could not be donors.
Hedgpeth has faith that there is a live donor out there but he just hasn't connected with them yet.
"They'd have my gratitude, not to mention my friendship for life," he said.
Hedgpeth can be reached at 910-347-0140 or 910-581-5754.
(c)2018 The Daily News (Jacksonville, N.C.)
Visit The Daily News (Jacksonville, N.C.) at www.jdnews.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.