Health Team

Family hopes to find new kidney through Duke donation program

Posted March 12, 2015
Updated March 14, 2015

A kidney from a living donor is a generous gift of life. On average, a living donor's kidney lasts 15 years, so many recipients will need a transplant in their lifetime.

For Stan and Beverly Jones, Christmas 1993 will always be remembered as special.

Lupus had destroyed Stan's kidneys and the family hoped for a matching living donor through Duke Hospital's transplant program.

None of the family's close relatives qualified as donors, so Beverly wanted to go through the process. The odds were so much against a spouse being a match that Duke wasn't willing to test her at first.

"I guess she finally convinced them after six months to let her be tested," Stan said. "But then they came up with a match and they were like 'whoa! If we are ever going to do this, this is the best odds we are going to have.'"

Their children, Nathaniel and Victoria, grew up learning to appreciate their mom's sacrifice for their dad.

"I would see a glimpse of the scar and said, 'Mom, what's that?' and she told me of the love story," said Victoria.

Beverly's kidney lasted four years longer than the average living donor kidney - 19 years.

Now, Stan is back on dialysis and in need of another donor.

"Dialysis is very hard on his body, and he'll come home just very wiped out," Beverly said.

High blood pressure ruled Nathaniel out as a donor, and Victoria found the surgery could affect fertility.

But now, through Duke's Paired Living Donation Program, any willing friend or relative can step forward for evaluation and testing.

Victoria's husband, Josh Radford decided to do the test.

"I found out that it wasn't going to restrict me at all and decided to go forward with it," Radford said.

If Radford is accepted and matches another patient on Duke's list, it could initiate a kidney swap that will help his father-in-law.

Normally, the wait for a kidney is about five years.

"If you can find a match in the paired program, which Duke is doing now, it might turn into a month versus years," Stan said.


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