My name is Sean Kesler. I am 25 years old and currently live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with my wife, Allyson, and our two children. I was born and raised in Cape Coral, Florida, where I met my wife when we were just 15 years old. I have a birth defect known as Uteropelvic Junction Obstruction, or UPJ. It's a blockage in the tubes that pass urine from the kidneys to the bladder, thus causing urine to back up into the kidneys and ultimately damaging them.
As an infant, I had multiple surgeries, none of which was able to correct the problem. The damage was already done. My kidney function has been declining my entire life. The doctors always knew that at some point I would have to have a transplant. Fast forward to August, 2008. Allyson and I moved to her hometown of Pittsburgh and began a new life together. In April, 2009, we had a beautiful baby girl, Victorya.
Not long after, my nephrologists recommended that I begin the process of being tested so that I could be added to the transplant list. I knew then I wasn’t far from having to start the grueling process of dialysis. Some close family members were tested, and early in the process, it was determined that my mom was a match. Just a few weeks before the transplant, however, the final tests revealed that she was unable to donate. It was a huge disappointment to all of us.
Thus, I was forced to begin dialysis. For a while, I continued my job at a sporting goods store, having dialysis from 5:30 in the morning until 9:30 before reporting for work. Because dialysis is extremely hard on the body, though, it became more and more difficult to perform the duties of my job, and eventually I had no choice but to leave. Then, in June, 2013, our son, Chrystian, was born. So now I am a stay-at-home dad . . . and that certainly is a job!
I've been on the transplant list at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center nearly 5 years. I have Type O blood, so I can receive a kidney from a person with Type O. However, because UP Medical Center participates in paired donation, a person of any blood type can donate. My insurance covers a donor's transplant-related medical expenses, including testing and follow-up. You need not be a resident of Pennsylvania to donate. For those who live far away, programs are available to cover the costs of transportation, lodging, meals, and car rental.
If you would like to be tested to see if you could donate to me, please contact my transplant center at 1-877-640-6746 or complete an online preliminary application here. If you'd like to contact me or follow my journey, you can do so by visiting my kidney-search Facebook page.
All I want is to be able to live a normal life with my wife and children. It breaks my heart that even my 4-year-old knows which days Daddy will be too exhausted from dialysis to be able to play with her. Thank you for taking the time to read my story and for considering giving me the Gift of Life. If you're unable to donate but would like to help, please share my story with others by clicking on the links below. Thank you.