Midlands man hopes new year will bring kidney transplant

Updated: Dec. 28, 2019 at 6:20 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As many of us begin to make our goals for the New Year, one Midlands man simply wants the gift at life.

Harry Nelson has been fighting for his life since 2013, after being diagnosed with stage 3 kidney disease.

Since kidney failure, he says he’s been hospitalized at least ten times, and his sister is not a match to be his donor.

With a rich history of kidney disease running in his family, he’s hopeful a new year could bring him the organ his life depends on.

“You just wake up every day and take it one day at a time,” Alex Nelson, Harry’s wife said. “You have to put on a suit of armor and you have to just keep going.”

Alex and Harry have been married for 25 years, and she’s been his biggest cheerleader through the most trying time of his life.

“I noticed I had issues with my kidney back in 2002,” Harry said. “Over the years it progressed, and so 2013 is when I found out that I had stage 3 kidney disease.”

Fast forward to 2019, Harry was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease.

“Progression was so fast that he ended up in the hospital and ICU,” Alex Nelson said.

Harry does dialysis three days a week.

“Going to sit on a machine it really changed the way you look at life because you don’t want to be connected to a machine for the rest of your life,” Harry said. “it took me down pretty hard, due to the fact that you have to stop working, because I was a truck driver, and I can’t do what I used to do to support my family.

Nelson said a new kidney would give him a “new life.”

“It would mean the world to me that I would have a second chance at living,” Harry Nelson said.

According to the MUSC Health website, there are more than 90,000 people on the national waiting list for a kidney transplant, and they will be waiting an average of three to five years.

The number of kidneys available from deceased donors isn’t enough to meet this demand, and thousands of people die each year waiting for an organ to become available.

Another option is through a living donor.

According to MUSC, living donation is the process by which a living donor chooses to have a surgeon remove one of their kidneys and transplant it into a waiting recipient. Living donor kidneys are usually much higher quality than kidneys from deceased donors.

If you’re interested in learning more or beginning the process of organ donation, please contact MUSC Health’s Living Donor Program.

In the meantime, if you’d like to help assist the Nelson family with their medical costs, you can donate here.

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