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ABC 6 Chief Photographer Shares Journey for New Kidney

September 12, 2018 11:06 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Thousands of people in Minnesota are in need of life-saving organ transplants, including a member of our ABC 6 News team.  

At any local sporting event, more often than not, you'll see ABC 6 Chief Photographer Chad Corey behind the camera, "I like to be behind the camera," he chuckles.   However, recently he's found himself in front of the camera, hooked up to a dialysis machine. 

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"I'm thankful that there is this machine that is acting like my kidney so it can get rid of the waste that my body is not doing on its own," said Chad.

For the past month, Chad has been in and out of the hospital.  "The first night when I was struggling with breathing, my chest felt like it was going to explode," he recalls.

Chad has stage four kidney disease and needs a transplant.

"All my life I really haven't been 100 percent, when I do get a transplant, I think I'll feel 100 percent and I won't even know what to do because I'll have more energy, I won't even feel like myself," he said.

"Generally anyone can donate," says Dr. Patrick Dean with Mayo Clinic.

Dean is a kidney transplant surgeon at Mayo Clinic and a 15 year veteran in the department.  He says 95,000 people are already on the kidney waiting list in the United States.  Last year more than 19,000 kidneys were transplanted, about 250 of those at Mayo Clinic.

"So there is clearly a big gap between how many people are waiting and how many are actually transplanted and around 7,000 people on the waiting list will die every year before they're able to receive a transplant," said Dean.

"It's not something you want to hear, but it becomes real when they tell you," said Chad.  Now on dialysis three times a week, he waits.  "It feels a little cold when the blood goes back in, but you don't really notice it a whole lot."

Despite his need, he’s still waiting to see if he even qualifies to be a transplant recipient.  Anyone waiting for a life-saving organ must also go through a process to make sure they have the most successful outcome.

Dean said, "we take into account their medical status, their cardiac status, and social status is equally important."  Once approved by doctors and a donor match is found, Dean says a transplant from start to finish, can typically be done in a month's time.

And that gives Chad hope.

"Even through some of that struggle, I felt like my dad was there," said Chad.   His dad passed away last year and although he's gone, Chad says he knows his dad hasn't left his side.

"There was a nurse that came in and gave me and my mom a little rock that said faith," said Chad, "and something as small as that it kind of showed hope, that he's looking out for me."

If you'd like to follow along on Chad's journey and or help with his mounting medical bills we've posted his go fund me page here.  A benefit and silent auction will be held Thursday at Pizza Ranch in Austin from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. to help support Chad and his family. 

Credits

Laura Lee

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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