Belleuve man pulls out all the stops to find a kidney donor


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David Darkey wears a hooded sweatshirt with a easy message: “DONATE KIDNEY TO DAVID,” written in daring letters on the chest.

“Some individuals will say, ‘Who is that this David?'” he stated. “It is me… Your greatest type of promoting is what you put on.”

Darkey is in kidney failure and on dialysis. The Bellevue native is one among greater than 93,000 People at present on a waitlist for a kidney transplant, in response to the National Kidney Foundation

He’s on the energetic listing at Henry Ford Well being System in Detroit and is within the strategy of being added to the listing at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He is additionally eligible to obtain a kidney by paired donation or through a deceased donor by Present of Life.

Nonetheless, the very best consequence for Darkey could be to obtain a residing donor kidney, which may operate for so long as 20 years. He’s a O-negative blood kind and stated that between 30 and 40 of his family and friends have been examined, however all have been unable to donate for varied causes.

So Darkey has made sweatshirts, T-shirts, magnets, stickers and flyers imploring for assist, hope they will compel somebody to supply a life-saving reward.

“No matter you have to do,” he stated. “You have to preserve it in entrance of individuals.”

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Daybreak Casselman, of Marshall, has identified Darkey for many years. They have been first related as followers of minor league hockey, though they have been rooting for rival groups.

“Once I first met him, he was an obnoxious teenager,” Casselman joked. “He is an incredible good friend and at all times there once I wanted it. If I wanted one thing, I do know he could be one of many first individuals I’d name.

“I do not suppose he is the kind that sometimes could be that particular person to ask for assist. I do not suppose that half is simple for him, however he has to do it.”

Darkey stated he was recognized with acute renal failure in 2008. He stated it was a results of hypertension, which triggered him to lose his eyesight for a two-week interval.

After occurring dialysis and being added to the transplant listing at Michigan Medication and the College of Toledo Medical Middle, his kidney operate improved and he was taken off dialysis and transplant lists.

“Might 4, 2009, in all probability one of many happiest days of my life, strolling out of a dialysis clinic,” he stated.

Sadly, Darkey’s kidneys went again into failure in 2017. He was comparatively wholesome, having misplaced 40 kilos by weight-reduction plan and train, when he seen swelling in his proper leg.

After the analysis, Darkey re-registered with the United Community of Organ Sharing and resumed dialysis remedies at Fresenius Kidney Care in Battle Creek, the place he goes three days every week for the almost four-hour process.

Darkey carries his mobile phone with him 24 hours a day in case a name comes with the information of a kidney ready for him. He was supplied one in 2018, he stated, however could not settle for it as a result of an unrelated medical process he was having. 

Stacy Amedeo, Darkey’s niece, stated her sports-fanatic uncle nonetheless makes time to take pleasure in his favourite groups, notably the Kalamazoo Ok-Wings and the Detroit Lions.

“He is been coping with kidney failure for 10-years plus,” she stated. Dialysis “looks like it actually sucks the life out of him. It says one thing about his character, he isn’t keen to surrender his favourite issues though he is on this scenario. He is had his season tickets without end, and he isn’t giving these as much as anybody.”

Darkey admitted that dialysis might be as a lot of a psychological wrestle as it’s bodily. However he has discovered inspiration in sports activities, notably from the late North Carolina basketball coach Jim Valvano.

“Jim Valvano stated, ‘By no means hand over.’ So that you simply carry on swinging,” Darkey stated. “I am nonetheless right here kicking, so attempt to benefit from the day when the solar is out. Once I went blind, you do not know in case you ever get that reward again.

“You at all times hope for the most effective and take issues in the future, one week at a time.”

Nick Buckley might be reached at or 269-966-0652. Observe him on Twitter:@NickJBuckley


Henry Ford Hospital: 313-916-7893

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