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Austin Man Gets Kidney From Anonymous Donor
In December 2013, physicians at the Kidney Transplant Center at St. David's North Austin Medical Center performed their 500th kidney transplant, but the waiting list continues to grow. As National Kidney Month ends and National Donate Life Month begins, an Austin man shares his story about how learned he needed a kidney.
Michael de la Cruz isn't one to sit still, "I had two jobs, I was always active, I always run, I'm always at the gym, but I didn't know what ... I ... couldn't believe it!"
His healthy lifestyle, though, proved no match for kidney disease. At 31 years old, his kidneys failed.
"I questioned the doctor. What's going on with my body? Why did this happen? And, he said a number of factors, one of them is high blood pressure," said de la Cruz.
"It's often silent. You often don't know that you're having it. There are few symptoms," said Dr. Peter Hines, a Nefrologist affiliated with the Kidney Transplant Center. "So without going to a doctor and having those labs done, you wouldn't really know that you have kidney disease."
Dr. Hines says this is why it's important to get lab work done every year.
"They found out that I had creatinine in my blood stream that was extremely high and that's how they tell," said de la Cruz. "Which is when your kidneys don't filter out your waste products."
The same day de la Cruz found out he had kidney disease, he started dialysis. Eight years later, he got the call he had been waiting on, "They said we may have a kidney ready for you, and the emotions were just too much."
An anonymous donor gave up one of their kidneys so he could live.
De la Cruz still does not know who the donor is, but says he thinks about them everyday, "Thank you. Words can't describe." He plans to write a letter to let them know the impact they have had on his life.
Next week, de la Cruz will share his experience during an Organ Donor Drive to commemorate National Donate Life Month. He is expected to speak Wednesday, April 9th at noon at St. David's North Austin Medical Center at 12221 North Mopac Expressway. The event is free and open to the public.
By Deeda Payton