Anonymous kidney donor could save life of Dallastown teen Alex Kepner


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Alex Kepner has been preventing kidney failure for over a yr. He lately discovered a residing donor!

York Each day Report

Alex Kepner’s mom was so determined to search out assist that she launched a marketing campaign to search out somebody prepared to surrender their very own wholesome organ.

Jennifer Fink hardly ever sleeps by way of the evening.

She climbs into mattress on the finish of her day and situates herself beneath the covers. However she’s usually woken by the cruel, brilliant gentle of her mobile phone. In the midst of the evening she’ll see that her son, Alex Kepner, in his personal mattress down the corridor, is texting her.

Alex has Stage four power kidney illness and wishes a transplant. He has lengthy despatched Fink messages about his ache, how his entire physique hurts and throbs.

“I’m not going to let my child cry alone in ache,” Fink mentioned. So she’ll go down the corridor and sit together with her son. “Generally he simply needs a hug.”

However now, he additionally sends messages about being scared of massive needles and hospital beds.

The York Daily Record first met Alex and Fink in December, proper earlier than Christmas. When Fink discovered that her son would want a kidney transplant, she took issues into her personal palms and had enterprise playing cards made: “Acquired kidneys? Wish to share with Alex Kepner?”

Extra: A kidney for Christmas: Pennsylvania mother in search of an organ for her 16-year-old son

After spending greater than a yr campaigning to search out her son a residing donor, Fink mentioned they lastly discovered one. And earlier than spring turns to summer season, Alex ought to have a brand new kidney.

The 16-year-old Dallastown highschool junior is comfortable to be getting a brand new kidney, he mentioned, however he’s additionally a bit nervous.

“Generally I can’t sleep at evening if I take into consideration the surgical procedure an excessive amount of,” he mentioned. “That’s after I’ll textual content my mother. I’m comfortable it’s occurring, however I’ve by no means needed to undergo a significant surgical procedure like this earlier than.”

“Properly most 16-year-olds haven’t, child,” Fink interrupts, rubbing her son’s shoulder.

One cellphone name can change every little thing

Fink remembers the day she acquired the decision so clearly, Valentine’s Day.

“I used to be in my workplace, working,” she started. “And my cellphone rang — I imply duh — however after I picked it up, the very first thing the physician mentioned to me was, ‘Jennifer, we now have a surgical procedure date scheduled.’ And all I may say was, ‘Oh my god. Wait. What? That’s superior.'” There was a lot racing by way of her thoughts at that second.

She was instructed that Alex would obtain his transplant on April 21 so long as every little thing goes as deliberate.

“So long as every little thing goes as deliberate?” Fink questioned.

The medical doctors instructed her that they discovered an nameless residing donor who was a match with Alex.

“And that’s a superb factor,” Fink mentioned.

However residing donors, the medical doctors warned her, can again out at any time, which might be devastating. Happily for Alex, Hershey Medical Middle additionally has a back-up donor lined up if that occurs.

“So, I imply it looks as if every little thing may work out,” Fink mentioned, nonetheless holding her breath. “However I’m nonetheless simply cautiously optimistic at this level. By means of this entire course of, I feel me and Alex have each realized to mood our expectations.”



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A residing donor is one of the best sort

Whereas extra organ donations may be from somebody who died immediately, maybe in a automotive or after a mind aneurysm, dwell donors provide a greater organ, Fink mentioned.

“It really works instantly. A residing donor is a wholesome kidney,” she mentioned. “It begins to perform and begins to make urine after the transplant.” It lasts longer too, she added. A kidney donated from somebody who had died doesn’t at all times work instantly.

And, Alex mentioned stepping away from the medical jargon: “With a dwell kidney donor, it’s extra of an all-around comfortable feeling. It’s higher than there being some unhappy loss of life concerned.”

“We will get this reward. And the truth that somebody can be so beneficiant and type and unbelievably heroic, it is actually transferring,” Fink mentioned, wanting down at her lap, smoothing out her pants. “There are good individuals on the market.”

Getting ready for surgical procedure

Fink had anxious she would by no means get that decision. As the vacations handed — Christmas after which New Yr’s — she watched as her son’s situation worsened and his kidney perform continued to decrease.

It isn’t simple for Alex to assist others perceive his signs, Fink mentioned. Being on the autism spectrum, he would not at all times clearly specific what’s going by way of his thoughts.

However Fink observed modifications in her son even in that quick timeframe between Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

Alex misplaced his urge for food. Legs cramps stored him up at evening and his discomfort would wake him. Neither had slept by way of the evening in months. Alex was not on dialysis, which his mom mentioned would have made him weaker, however he was getting dangerously near needing that.

He nonetheless is, Fink mentioned, which is why her precedence proper now could be preserving Alex as wholesome as potential earlier than his surgical procedure.

Proper now, Alex has extra unhealthy days then good ones. He’s been out of college for over per week, missing the power to navigate a visit to the lavatory, not to mention the halls of his highschool.

Vitality — that’s the factor Alex seems most ahead to with is new kidney.

“I at all times really feel drained or actually run down,” he mentioned. “I don’t know what it’s going to be prefer to not really feel like that.”

And he has loads to sit up for. He hopes to take up dance courses as soon as he’s recovered from surgical procedure, and he nonetheless has a want on maintain from the Make a Want Basis. Again in January the muse reached out to Jennifer telling her that Alex certified for a want.

“It was sort of ironic on the time,” she mentioned. “We nonetheless hadn’t discovered a donor but they usually had a gathering with us to see what Alex would love when all he wished was a kidney.”

Now, his sights are set just a little greater.

“Perhaps a Broadway present, or a visit to this Dungeons and Dragon theme park,” Alex mentioned.

Fink mentioned that doesn’t matter to her. As a result of as soon as April 21 comes, her want can have been granted.

The mere prospect of extra good days is sufficient to carry a smile to her face. “I went by way of hell pondering my son goes to die,” she mentioned. “However in just a few months, we each may be capable to breathe once more.”

Additionally of curiosity: This yard sign may save a woman’s life


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