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.”