Not everyone gets a second chance, let alone a third chance, at life; but Mike Maker is one of the few who have had not one, but two kidney transplants. “I certainly wouldn’t be here and healthy today if it weren’t for my two kidney donors,” Mike said. “Luckily, I had very loving and willing people in my life. I know not everyone is so lucky.”
Mike’s kidney problems began when he was still a teenager. At the time, he was having trouble walking and his legs were hurting. Investigation by doctors found that one of his kidneys had failed and the other was following suit.
“I was only 16 and I needed a transplant immediately,” he said
In July of 2002, Mike received the first kidney from his mother Fiona. It was a gift that lasted nine years until 2011 when the medications he was taking to prevent his body from rejecting the donated kidney were found to be damaging the very organ that was keeping him alive. Mike was placed on dialysis for most of 2011 when his fiancé, Colleen, stepped forward to be his second donor.
“The second one was scarier than the first; there is a lot more that can go wrong,” Mike said. “But we both recovered just fine and we were able to get married and even enjoy our happy honeymoon in Belize.”
Mike is now using his story to spread awareness about kidney disease and the need for organ donors. He and his wife both participated in the Boston Kidney Walk on October 28.
“My efforts are to raise awareness for organ donors,” Mike said. “A lot of this can be avoided if there are people willing to donate. You just have to look at me and see that transplants do save people’s lives. This is something people can do for someone else in need.”