Fighting Kidney Disease and Walking for Awareness

r-PinsentLeyla and Brett Pinsent were married less than a year when they hit their first major road bump – kidney disease.

Right before Christmas last year, Leyla started having severe chest pain – it was the first sign of a form of kidney disease called crescentic glomerulonephritis. By the time she was diagnosed, Leyla was close to kidney failure and doctors were cautiously warning that she might need a kidney transplant.

“It’s not something you expect to happen in your first year of marriage,” said Brett. “It makes you understand how precious life is.”

Leyla went through chemotherapy to prevent her body from attacking her damaged kidneys, and then started a process of rebuilding her immune system and kidneys through steroids and transfusions. She narrowly avoided dialysis. Slowly, her kidneys recovered from the brink of failure, an outcome that is not possible for the majority of kidney disease patients.

“I realize that I was extremely lucky,” she said.

Deeply impacted by his wife’s fight, and the other kidney disease patients the Pinsents met during their ordeal, Brett has decided to become an altruistic kidney donor. He will give up his kidney once Leyla has fully recovered and he is assured by doctors that she will not need a transplant herself.

“There were people around us who weren’t as fortunate,” Brett said. “I never realized how prevalent kidney disease is until Leyla got it. When you think of disease, kidneys don’t come to mind, but it is a really big deal.”

While waiting to donate, the Pinsents are getting involved with the National Kidney Foundation, and participating in the Los Angeles Kidney Walk.

This is a good way of making people more aware of kidney disease,” said Leyla. “If it helps someone to get their kidneys checked out, or convinces someone to become an organ donor, it’s worth it.”

8 thoughts on “Fighting Kidney Disease and Walking for Awareness

  1. I too was a kidney donor. I gave my dad a kidney on May 28, 1997. My dad had end-stage renal failure and was on dialysis for almost a year. I wrote in a Christmas card the year before that my gift this year was my kidney. It is a wonderful experience to know you saved someone’s life. For me, it was a way of saying “thank you for being a awesome dad”. My parents just celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary. I just wish more people will realize that the human body can survive on one kidney.

  2. I think Brett is such a great man for this gift of love. My husband had whilms tumor on his right kidney and lives with one yet it’s function is decreasing and had a bout with strep throat threatened with postsecondary nephritis. His kidney has not recovered and is now taking 8 shots month for six months to improve his function numbers. So don’t know if dialysis or transplant will be in his future but I hope more people step up to give the greatest gift unselfishly like Brett! He is a real hero!

  3. My Husband and I have been married for 20 years now. He was diagnosed with IGA kidney disease our first year of marriage also. He was given 4 years before needing a transplant and unfortunately it was only about 1 and a half years and he was in total kidney failure. He dialysed and was able to receive the gift of life from a cadavor. Unfortunately he started rejecting the kidney right away. The kidney was out of body for almost 23 hours and the drs still transplanted it. He dialysed until the kidney started to work. He lived with this kidney for 8 years with a lot of complications. He lived in and out of the hospital for the whole 8 years.. He went into total kidney failure again and was air flown out to have the transplanted kidney removed and back on dialysis he went. His next transplant lasted for almost 6 years and the original kidney disease found it and as of September of last year he is back on dialysis. He awaits a transplant again. Still young at only the age of 47. We have adopted 3 children through foster care due to not being able to have our own due to all the medical issues. They are now 9, 14, and 16. He is on the waiting list. I am not able to give a kidney cause I am not the right blood type. No family member has been a match. I take my hat off to you for being a donor and giving life to someone else in need. With our 2nd transplant we were able to adopt our 3rd child. I too someday will give a kidney to someone in need when our life levels out. God Bless you for your giving heart.

  4. My first son, Robert donated a kidney to my second son Michael in July of 2005. Seven years later Michael is now on dialysis and needs another kidney transplant.. Michael has Alport’s Syndrome. I am a match but I am spilling protein and I am the carrier of Alport’s. My third son Andrew is a match and his urine is clear. He will be finishing up the rest of the testing and hopefully by the new year we will know a transplant is in the near future!! My youngest son Patrick plans to be Michael’s donor if he needs another kidney someday. All donors are amazing people and I know that first hand!!

  5. i have donated my kidney to my younger brother and from past 1 year i am living happily without any complication..its really a wonderful experience. all of us must do it. brett hates off to you..

    • Wonderful stories and my admiration to all those who donated. I too am in the final stages of renal failure and seeking a donor. Using Facebook has helped with many people offering to get tested. Each day is a struggle. John

  6. I was diagnosed with glomerulonephritis in 1972 at the age of 21& had been married for almost 2 years. I didn’t need a transplant until 1975 after 6 months of dialysis. 3 years after that transplant I gave birth to a baby girl. Unfortunately 4 yrs later on april 13th, 1982 the kidney rejected but also on April 13th I also received a 2nd transplant at the age of 32. I am now 62 & have had this transplant for 30 yrs this past April. I have been so blessed to have been given 2 more chances to live a normal life free from dialysis. Thank you so much for promoting organ donation! It is one of the most beautiful gifts you can give a relative or in my case, 2 perfect strangers! God bless you both & be happy always!

  7. We are a family of 12, two parents and 10 brothers and sisters, half of us have kidney problems. My brother got a cadaver kidney 10 years ago. What a miracle! After being in dialysis for most than two years and in and out of the hospital because it was too hard on his body. Three of my sisters were borned with only one kidney and one of them is having kidney problems already. I was diagnosed about 25 years ago. Then my kidneys were working at 49% at age 20. The doctors have predicted that I would need to start dialysis more than 10 years ago, but I have been stuborn and, with my husband’s help ,I have been taking very good care of what is left of them and I have defeated all the odds and still not on dialysis. They said that probably in less than two months I will have to start it. In the mean time, I am wating for a cadaver donor. Hopefully I will get it one day.

    Based on this, I can only urge anyone with kidney disease to follow the diet and the doctors’ instructions religiously. We can not stop the disease, but we can help to slow it down. God bless you all!

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