Someone You Should Know

Kansas family uses car stickers to find a kidney donor

Everyday three to four times a day Keyta Kelly checks her email hoping to hear from  stranger.

She wants everyone to know her email, she even put it on a car decal on the back of her car with the message, ‘My husband needs a kidney, can you help?’ This wasn’t how Keyta envisioned she would be looking for a donor.  She first turned to family and friends, but none of them were a match. 

Keyta however was a match, but she already gave her husband a kidney. 

“I donated to him in 2003 when he need it," she said.  When she gave her husband Michael a kidney in 2003 it wasn’t on just any day, it was Valentine’s Day.

“Everybody says, ‘oh that was really nice of you,’ no it wasn't, it was really greedy of me because I wanted to keep him around, you know.”

For 13 years her kidney did just that, but two and half years ago it failed and Michael was put on the wait list to receive a kidney. This problem with Michael’s kidneys stems from being diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at just 9-years-old. His diabetes is the reason why his kidneys failed all those years. He’s been getting dialysis since they failed this last time. 
   
To help make it easier, Keyta learned how to give Michael his dialysis at home, but in the midst of taking care of her husband of 36 years, Keyta was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

“Went through chemo and radiation; double mastectomy and all of that,” she said. “It has been tough, it's been a tough two years a very tough two years."
     
During that time Michael’s health declined. He had to stop working at the law office both he and Keyta share in Tonganoxie. He stopped because he could tell his body is slowly shutting down.

“It’s a lot different from what it was a year ago, I can't do as much,” Michael said. Desperate for help, Keyta took an idea she saw done across the country where people use their cars as rolling billboards for a kidney donation. 

Both Keyta and Michael’s family got involved. Their plea for a kidney donor can be spotted on cars across the entire state of Kansas and in parts in Texas. 

After being hesitant about the idea initially, Michael even got on board and put a sticker on his truck. 

“The reality is, everyday I'm here, I'm lucky,” he said. “And I may not have much more so it's worth a shot.” Despite being on the waitlist Micheal could still have to wait another two half years or longer for a kidney. 

Waiting that amount of time is Keyta’s biggest fear. 


“We’ve got three beautiful little granddaughters that we're hoping to see grow up,” Keyta explains with tears in her eyes. “So you know that is a a big concern." That’s why she keeps checking her email, hoping to hear from a stranger with a heart and a kidney. The family says there would be no financial burden on a donor. 
 
Keyta and Michael are willing to pay to for any lodging, gas, and food expenses. Michael's insurance pays for all medical costs. Keyta will help write a grant that will pay for any lost wages a donor incurs at work. 

If you’re interested in being a donor email: Kidney2give@gmail.com.


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