Valparaiso, IN — In 2013, Jeffrey Howard was diagnosed with liver cancer.
“They basically told me that there was nothing more that they could do and that I had about, on average, about 17 months to live,” he said.
After a liver transplant and treatment, Jeffrey is cancer free! But, he is now in need of a kidney transplant.
“Because of the anti-rejection meds and the damage that my kidneys already had from the cancer treatments, my kidneys started to fail. I had to go on dialysis and go on the waiting list for a kidney transplant,” Howard said.
Jeffrey’s family and friends were all tested, but no one is a match. So, Jeffrey and his family found a creative way to spread the word about his need for a new kidney.
“We saw stories about some other people in other cities that put decals on their trucks or their cars and we went to a local printing company here and got the decals made up. And we had a really good response to it. We put it on Facebook. I put it on Tik Tok just trying to find someone that would be willing to be a match, be a donor,” he explained.
His wife, Kelly, took notice of the feedback.
“The response we’ve had just has been overwhelming and it really gives you faith in humanity again in a year where it’s been kind of tough to find at times,” she said.
But Jeffrey is still in search of a kidney match.
“To get the phone call from the hospital would be really life changing. I have to do dialysis every day for 8.5 hours and so that really has changed life a lot so it would be life changing to get back to regular life,” Howard said.
Finding out of you are a match for Jeffrey is a simple process.
“If someone wants to be a donor for me, they can go to Northwestern Medical’s website and there’s a living donor health questionnaire that you can fill out and then you would put my name in the questionnaire as the person that you want to donate to. Then they call you with further steps after that, which is all paid for by my insurance,” he explains.
Jeffrey encourages everyone to consider being a living organ donor to help others in need.
“You can have a normal life with one kidney. If for some reason you ever start to have health problems and you need a transplant, you go to the head of the line by being a donor. And it’s not just kidneys either. You can donate half your liver, you can donate a kidney, you can donate bone marrow. There’s many options that you can save someone’s life, change someone’s life,” he says.
To see if you are a match for Jeffrey or for more info on becoming an organ donor, visit www.nmlivingdonor.org
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