GOOD NEWS! Stan received a kidney from a living donor, on March 29, 2014. Both Stan and his donor are doing well. Congratulations, Stan!
My name is Stan Hardcastle. I'm 59 years old and live in Nolensville, Tennessee, with my best friend of 25 years . . . my wife, Denise. We have a grown daughter, Stephanie; son-in-law, Jeremy; and 2 adorable grandchildren, 6-year-old Jeff and 6-month-old Julianna. We also have a 15-year-old Corgi named Wendy and a new kitty named T-bird. They mean everything to me.
I'm a “car kinda guy.” When my grandson, Jeff, was younger, we spent many hours on the floor together building Lego cars. Each year, we progressed to building larger and more complicated vehicles. It appears that the little guy may be following in my footsteps, as he too is fascinated with cars. I love attending auto shows, drag races, and NASCAR events with my wife and friends. I've been the events director of our local Mopar club for many years and am a judge for local, regional, and national car shows. As you might guess, my love of vehicles extends to my work. Although I'm currently unable to work full-time due to my illness, I work part-time delivering cars, trucks, and busses to dealerships around the country.
In early 2013, I had my annual physical, which included blood work. The following day, my doctor phoned with news I never expected to hear: I was in end-stage kidney failure! I'd been feeling nauseated and weak, but with no history of renal problems, I never imagined I needed a kidney transplant! Since that day, my family's world has been turned upside down . . . so many questions, worries, fears, emotions.
Denise and I were astounded. How could this plunge into the final stage of kidney failure have happened so suddenly? My doctor believes it may be related to open-heart surgery I'd had ten years earlier. During that surgery, the renal artery is clamped and later unclamped. It appears that my renal arteries never fully recovered and caused the blood supply to be blocked, preventing it from reaching my kidneys. Although I'd done quite well and lived a very active life following the surgery, my kidneys were being silently damaged without anyone's knowledge.
Now my kidneys are functioning at 8% of normal capacity. I've lost 50 pounds in just a few months, and I'm extremely fatigued daily. I'm experiencing pain in my joints due to my body's lack of protein. Even food and drink don't taste right (a common effect of kidney disease). Kidney failure is quickly taking its toll on me.
In August, I will have a tube surgically placed in my abdomen to begin dialysis. Since the type of dialysis I'll be on must be performed nightly for 8-9 hours while I sleep, my overnight vehicle-delivery job will come to a halt. As you can imagine, I'm scared. And, because dialysis is extremely hard on the body, the average life span of a dialysis patient is only 5 years. In my area of the country, the waiting list for a deceased-donor kidney is 3-5 years . . . but there is no guarantee that I can hold out that long.
Due to various health issues, no one in my family is able to donate to me. A few close friends volunteered, but sadly, they were found to be ineligible. So, I must turn to you for help. The ideal donor for me would be someone with Type O blood, but because my hospital participates in paired donation, a person of any blood type may donate.
My insurance covers all medical costs (including testing), and you do not have to be a Tennessee resident to donate. Funds are available to pay for transportation, lodging, meals, and car rental. Vanderbilt also offers a program that compensates living donors for time away from work.
There is a wealth of information available on this website to answer your questions and concerns. In particular, you may wish to visit the Donors' Stories page, where previous living donors share their experiences. My transplant center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, in Nashville, TN, makes it easy to apply for donorship with their online donor intake form. Or, if you wish to speak with someone and apply by phone, please contact my transplant coordinator, Verna Johnson. You can reach her toll-free at 866-748-1491 or locally at 615-936-0695. If you would like to contact me, you may do so by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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