Written by Kristi Callaway.
This story comes from a young man who has his whole life ahead of him. I am asking you to please read his story, make the call if it is in your heart to do so and share his story everywhere you can. As you will read, only 1% of the population can donate to him. He is the most difficult type of match, but we know NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD! All it takes is for that one person to follow their heart and call to be tested as his rare match. Rob’s blood type is A - .
****HE CAN RECEIVE A KIDNEY FROM BLOOD TYPES A - , O - AND O + .****.
--My name is Rob Harding, and I am 26 years old. I was born with posterior urethral valves. Simply put, I have obstructing flaps of tissue in my urethra that prevent normal urine flow from my bladder to out of my body. The urinary reflux caused by the obstruction damaged my kidneys to the point of needing a transplant as a child. At the age of 13, I was blessed by a kidney donation from my Dad. To spare my new kidney the damage my native kidneys suffered, I had numerous procedures to allow me to completely rid my bladder of urine in order to protect my new kidney. The initial procedure, which involved using a small portion of my stomach to enlarge my bladder, was not fully successful at preventing reflux and caused me to have horrible bladder spasms. Another procedure, called the Mitrofanoff procedure, allowed me to self-catheterize through my abdomen, was painless and simple, and worked great! My new kidney did everything it was supposed to and made me a new, energetic, healthy teenager. Then, the pediatric urologist that had overseen my care for years retired. The urologist that replaced him felt that I could excrete all of my urine the natural way. Shortly after following that doctor’s orders, I developed a kidney infection that ultimately caused my kidney to fail. Because I have had one transplant and two subsequent blood transfusions while on dialysis, I am highly sensitized to the blood and tissue of others. My sensitivity to foreign blood and organs is 99%. That means that of 100 possible donors, ONE will be able to be my life-saving donor.
I have survived on hemodialysis since September of 2009 – over 5 years, and my body feels every single day of those 5 years. The days of feeling exhausted and drained only on dialysis days are long gone. Even on the days between clinic days, I have to make myself move, stand up, walk, “live”. I try not to spend too much time thinking about what I know is my reality. Dialysis is not an answer or solution to kidney failure. I will dialyze for 4 hours a day for 3 days every week until I receive a transplant or the Lord calls me Home. While I know the reality of kidney failure, I also know God has a plan for me. I just do not believe that God’s ultimate plan for me on earth is for me to be kept alive by a machine. That’s what dialysis is. It is life support, but I am conscious, awake and aware that my body is being kept alive by a machine. I pray, feel hopeful and TRUST that God’s plan for me does not end with a life on dialysis, and that His plan for me is similar to what I have dreamed of and envisioned for myself. I want to live a life that doesn’t revolve around dialysis every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I was attending college when I had to begin dialysis. I want to finish my college degree. I want to work full time. As a matter of fact, I would love to work overtime…I just want to be able to work. I want to meet the person meant for me, get married, have children and maybe even grandchildren. I remember what it felt like to have the energy to go, and really LIVE and experience life. It is a distant memory, but one I have not forgotten because it’s what keeps me going when all I want to do is sit, rest, sleep. God made a way for my story to reach each person reading my prayer and plea for help. Please, please, please if you are the blood type that could possibly be my 1 in 100 match, call Emory to be tested. Emory’s number is 1-855-366-7989. Let them know that you would like to be tested as a living donor match for me, Rob Harding (DOB 11/17/88). Thank you, and please keep me in your prayers.