Sharing an office doesn’t always mean you’d be willing to share the gift of life with the person in the next cubicle, but that’s exactly what happened at one Wakefield, Massachusetts business.
Bill McIntire, a sales manager at Persian Acceptance Corporation, was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy, a form of kidney disease, when he was 23. While his condition was stable throughouthis 20s and 30s, he began developing symptoms including hypertension and gout, and his doctors noticed a steady decline in his kidney function.
“I was gradually losing my kidney function,” McIntire said. “In 2006 we started talking about the inevitability of transplant as the best option.”
McIntire started looking everywhere for someone who’d give up a kidney but it is difficult to find a willing donor, let alone someone who is also biologically compatible. McIntire was ready to give up his extensive search and resign himself to a life tethered to a dialysis machine while waiting for a cadaver donation –when a co-worker, Deb Dalton stepped forward to be tested. She was a perfect match.
“It seemed like the right thing to do,” Dalton said. “I checked my family’s medical history and realized we didn’t have kidney disease so I got myself tested. The way I viewed it –you don’t need two kidneys and Bill needed one. It didn’t seem right that he should have to go on dialysis.”
McIntire was blown away by the 11th hour gesture.
“Deb and I were always friendly, but I never thought she’d be that kind of friend,” McIntire said. “That’s the real miracle of the story — that she came forward and was so willing to donate.”
The surgery occurred in December, and after a quick recovery, both Bill and Deb were back in the office and feeling great.
“I would do it again if I could,” Dalton said. “It wasn’t a big deal, and I think more people should consider becoming organ donors or living donors if they aren’t at risk for kidney disease.”
Both Dalton and McIntire are now using their story to spread awareness about kidney disease and the need for organ donors. They will participated in the Boston Kidney Walk on October 28.
“People don’t realize how common kidney disease is,” McIntire said. “The cause obviously means a lot to me, and although I hate clichés, I really want to give back.”