In December of 1995, Steve went to see his doctor after feeling extremely ill. Early in the New Year, he was diagnosed with not one but several chronic conditions—lupus, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and recurring asthma. Before these medical tests, Steve was unaware that he had been born with only one kidney. Lupus was attacking his lone kidney, making his condition not only serious, but life threatening.
Steve began dialysis treatments, going to the clinic every other day to have his blood cleaned by the dialysis machine. His kidney function improved slightly, but in 1998, the organ finally gave out. His veins were also deteriorating from the grueling dialysis treatments. Steve prepared himself to join the long list of patients waiting for kidney transplants. But just before he joined the list, Steve’s three brothers, Harold, Albert and Douglass, decided to get tested as potential living donors. Harold, a Lieutenant for the Denver Fire Department, was the first to get tested. Fortunately, he was a match! Harold donated a kidney to Steve on January 13, 1999. Steve relates,
“Fortunately, I have not suffered any recurring kidney-related issues, and—amazingly—no rejection episodes.”
Steve and Harold will celebrate the 16th anniversary of their transplant in 2015. They intend to celebrate many more.