Hi, I'm Rick, and I need a new kidney. I am 55 years old and live in Connecticut with my wife, Paula, and our two amazing rescue dogs, Riley and Heidi.
I was born with a rare genetic condition called Alport Syndrome. This took away my kidney function, along with a good chunk of my hearing. That's the weird thing about this particular disease, that it affects the kidneys and ears. But hearing-aid technology is amazing these days, so I'm good there.
I've had this transplanted kidney for 20 years, but it is now reaching its end. I feel really tired, like I always need a nap. I get through my workday by the power of caffeine and then crash in the evening. My job requires me to be mentally sharp, and I fear the brain fog that often accompanies dialysis will put my career in jeopardy. I always knew in the back of my mind that this time was coming. I like to think that having that knowledge has kept me grounded and feeling grateful for the time that I have. Reminds me of what a dialysis nurse said to me once: "Do you know how to tell if it's a good day? You woke up."
I've been dealing with kidney issues for most of my life, but I refuse to let it define me. I enjoy the occasional golf outing with friends; it always feels like a mini-vacation. I love to ski and have fond memories of racing down to the bottom of a trail only to ride back up and do it again. I love music, especially live. To me there's nothing like being with a group of people all feeling the vibe of the band. We all bought the album and know all of the words. But being on the anti-rejection meds has made the COVID years especially difficult. Number of concerts attended since March, 2020: zero. Number of golf outings: one. Skiing has been put on hold. Ahh well, this too shall pass. In the meantime, I've picked up a couple of new hobbies to help deal with the isolation. I'm now an avid reader and have started playing the drums (poorly, but I'm getting better).
With Alport Syndrome being a genetic condition, there are no eligible kidneys in my immediate family. My incredible wife just went through the donor evaluation process at Yale. She changed her diet and lost enough weight to get her BMI in the required range. Unfortunately, during the last CT scan of her abdomen it was discovered that there are multiple cysts on both of her kidneys, making them unsuitable for transplant.
I am on the transplant list at Yale New Haven, but the wait time is estimated to be 5 to 7 years. So here I am, hoping for a living donor to come forward. We only need one healthy kidney in order to live a normal life.
If you are considering being the living donor I need, please contact Yale New Haven Transplantation Center to confidentially start the donation process. The phone number is (866) 925-3897 and you would give them my full name, Richard Phillips.
If you are unable to donate, please share my story - the more people that see it, the better! My family and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
UPDATE 08/31: My need for a new kidney has become more urgent. A month ago I went to have an outpatient procedure to place the catheter for peritoneal dialysis. Unfortunately the surgery took a bad turn and ultimately required two separate exploratory surgeries in the span of 3 days. I'm finally home and recovering, going to hemodialysis 3 days a week until the peritoneal catheter is ready for use. I've lost over 15 lbs (and you thought I was skinny before) and a lot of muscle strength, but I'm working with a terrific physical therapist and am feeling stronger by the day.
If you are considering being a living donor please use links below to contact Richard Phillips's Transplant Center. Begin by completing the donor questionnaire
There are currently 120,000 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant in the U.S. Of these, 100,000 await kidney transplants.
The median wait time for a kidney transplant is 3-5 years and can vary depending on health, compatibility, and where you live.
In 2014, 17,107 kidney transplants took place in the U.S. Of these, 11,570 came from deceased donors and 5,537 came from living donors.
Every 14 minutes someone is added to the kidney transplant waitlist.
A kidney from a living donor lasts longer and begins functioning more quickly than a kidney from a deceased donor.
In 1995, kidney donation became minimally invasive with a procedure called laparoscopic nephrectomy, which only requires four small incisions. Hospital stay is typically only 3 days after this operation.
Not blood type compatible with your recipient to be a living donor? Kidney Paired Donation (the “kidney swap” program) enables incompatible candidates with a living donor to receive a kidney from a compatible donor.
Last year, over 700 living donor kidney transplants occurred using Kidney Paired Donation.
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