In 1982, Adam Hess of Carthage was the youngest patient to ever receive a kidney transplant in the United States. He was six months old.
"My kidneys failed at two months old. At two months, I wasn't at the weight to have a transplant. So they wanted me to get up to nine pounds. At six months old, I got up to nine pounds and there was a 50/50 chance of it even working, and they said let's give it a try," Hess said.
Doctors removed both of Hess' kidneys and inserted a kidney from his mother. It has been 33 years since the transplant and Hess is dealing with kidney failure again. This time, he will receive a kidney from his father.
Kidney failure makes patients feel tired, on top of reporting three days a week for dialysis, the cleaning of the blood. Since Hess has not been able to work, he spends his days volunteering in the dialysis services department at Freeman.
"I think it gives inspiration to see where I'm at, the things I can do, and just to show them that once they get that kidney, they too can live a normal life," Hess said.
An estimated 26 million people deal with kidney failure according to the director for dialysis services.
"A lot of people progress to kidney failure, there are about half a million people requiring dialysis. And the only way to fight this disease is to create awareness, so we do not reach that end result of dialysis," Dr. Abdul Nagaria said.
Nagaria says eating a healthy diet and getting screened as needed is the key to prevention.
March is National Kidney Month. Hess and other volunteers have spent time making the second annual "March O' the Kidney" at Northpark Mall possible. The event takes place Saturday at 10 a.m. All ages are welcome.
"The march helps to bring people together, create awareness, and also raise funds for all the patients that are going through this disease. Especially the dialysis patients at Freeman Hospital, all the funds are used for those patients," Dr. Nagaria said.
Kidney disease is an expensive ailment with all the travel, so the walk will help benefit local patients financially. Raffle items will be available.
There will be a $10 cost to attend the walk.
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