My name is Paul Billy, and I'm from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. At the age of 22, I was diagnosed--quite unexpectedly--with Polycystic Kidney Disease, or PKD. It was discovered very much by accident. I was having an ultrasound to help diagnose a stomach issue when I first heard the words: “Have you ever heard of Polycystic Kidney Disease?" the technician asked. "Because you have it.”
To say I was stunned would be an understatement. You see, 99% of the time, PKD is an inherited condition, and families are aware of it. Having no family history of the disease, I am one of the unlucky 1% who has a genetic mutation that causes the disease.
PKD is a condition in which cysts grow on and in the kidneys. For about 50% of the people afflicted with the disease, it leads to complete kidney failure. Currently there is no known treatment or cure.
Over the past 22 years, I've been having my kidney function tested regularly. At first, it was once a year, then twice a year, and now every month. With each test, I've witnessed my kidney function gradually declining. Currently, I am in end-stage kidney failure. My kidneys are functioning at 13% of normal. It is not a matter of if they are going to fail, but when. My kidney doctor thinks I will be in full kidney failure within the year.
I have worked hard over the years to protect my kidney functioning, following a special diet and other measures to delay the inevitable outcome. I have strong incentives for doing so: my 9-year-old son, Christopher, and my wife, Susan. Susan and I, both, together, would like to see Christopher graduate from college and have a family of his own.
What are my options? The most ideal option is to have a kidney transplant, and I am on the waiting list to receive a deceased-donor kidney. According to my transplant surgeon, my wait for a deceased-donor kidney will be about 6 years at best. My other option is to receive a kidney from a living donor. If I am blessed enough to find a living donor, I could have a kidney transplant within 3 to 6 months. Ideally, I would receive a transplant before my kidneys fail completely and I have to go on dialysis. Dialysis is very hard on the body and causes other significant health problems, so receiving a transplant before dialysis becomes necessary is the best-case scenario.
How can you help? Please consider being a living kidney donor for me. I have type O blood, but through a paired exchange program, anyone of any blood type can donate. You do not have to live in Pennsylvania to donate, and all medical expenses are covered by my insurance.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about giving me the gift of life, please call Jerri, my living-donor coordinator at the Pinnacle Health Transplant Program in Harrisburg, PA at (717) 231-8751. State that you are interested in being tested as a potential donor for Paul Billy. It's a confidential phone call, and I will not be informed of your call.
If you would like to contact or get to know me a little better, please visit "Paul Billy Needs a Kidney" on Facebook. You can "visit" my family through photos and view some informational videos that Susan and I have produced. And, even if you can't donate, you can learn about other ways to help by clicking the blue "How You Can Help" button near the top of the page. Thanks so much!