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Friday, February 3, 2023

Newport resident searching for kidney donor

NEWPORT – A Newport resident has been looking for a live kidney donor, and now he and his wife are turning to the public for help.

Michael Kelly lost a kidney 18 years ago and has been living with one kidney since then.

His wife Shelley says the disease has worsened and put massive strain on his remaining kidney, which is now in late stage failure.

Ongoing dialysis treatments, which usually take four hours, three times a week, have helped his remaining kidney do its job and keep him alive, but is difficult because of the time and scheduling it requires.

He’s currently on the transplant list at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, but that wait could take years.

“We live in Newport and we have great nurses here and at Dartmouth, but dialysis does limit what we can do in our life,” Shelley said. “We still have a lot we want to do.”

A transplant would give Michael the chance to live a longer, healthier, and more normal life.

Michael and Shelley have been in Newport for the last seven years, and say that community support has been amazing.

So far, four local people have already offered to become a donor, but they didn’t qualify.

“It’s very moving that there have already been people that we’ve only known for a relatively short time who have offered to help, even going through the questioning to see if they qualified,” Michael said, “We’re falling in love with the community even more because it’s been so sweet and generous.”

Shelley offered to become a donor as well, but she also did not qualify.

“The most devastating news I’ve had in my life, worse than the deaths of my parents and the numerous miscarriages I’ve had, is that I am not a qualified donor candidate,” Shelley said.

Michael and Shelley just celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary, and the love they have for each other is inspiring.

“We weren’t blessed with children, but we have each other, and it’s my sole focus to find a living donor so we can celebrate twice that and even beyond,” Shelley said.

Michael has always been active and otherwise healthy, and gives back to his community by caregiving to the elderly and by mentoring to disadvantaged people who need a second chance at life.

“It’s not like us to ask friends, family, or strangers for favors,” Shelley said. “We normally do for ourselves, but now we’re in dire need of help. Please help us by saving the life of an amazing human being by sharing your spare.”

According to the National Kidney Foundation:

  • You only need one kidney to live a long, healthy life.
  • Most donor surgery is done laparoscopically, via a series of tiny incisions.
  • The recuperation period is usually fairly quick, generally about two weeks.
  • The cost of your evaluation and surgery will be covered by the recipient’s insurance. The transplantation hospital can give you extensive information on this.
  • There are donor assistance programs that will cover lost wages, etc., during the time you’re involved in the donor process.
  • You will have a separate team of healthcare professionals to evaluate you as a living donor. Their job is to help you understand the risks and benefits and look out for your best interests.
  • The NKF can connect you with living donors who can share their experiences.

If donating a life-saving kidney to Michael is something you or anyone you know can do, visit https://akidneyformichael.com/ where you can learn more, as well as fill out the online Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center application form and see if your a match.

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