By Roger Ball
What he thought would be a routine visit to his eye doctor started a rapid series of events that ended up with Scott Shull, a financial adviser in Sun City West, getting a new kidney from a friend just a few months later.
When Mr. Shull went for an examination his optometrist noticed signs of high blood pressure, so his wife scheduled an appointment with his new family physician. After giving some blood for tests, the doctor told him to go to the emergency room immediately as his kidneys were not working at all.
“My first thought is the tests were a mistake,” Mr. Shull said. “I had no idea there was a problem, and then learned I had an auto immune condition.”
A kidney transplant was the best solution, and it came from a friend he met earlier by chance.
Alan De Keyrel had just moved to Arizona from Minnesota and was taking his child to a vacation bible school when he saw another vehicle with a Minnesota sticker. Later he met the driver and her husband, and they became close friends, and they live close together.
When Mr. De Keyrel learned that his friend Scott needed a kidney he immediately volunteered, as did about 10 other friends. Doctors believed Mr. De Keyrel was the best match, and the transplant took place on June 20.
“The most humbling part of this is the number of people who immediately came forth and offered me a kidney,” Mr. Shull said.
That transplant donor and recipient were matched relatively quickly and easily. But not all of them work that smoothly.
Nico Santos, Donor Network of Arizona spokesman reported than from January through July 2018, 428 people in Arizona had their lives saved by organ donations. That is a 12.6 percent increase of the same period in 2017.
Nearly 200,000 sign up to be organ donors in Arizona every year. Drivers license applications play a huge part, as 95 percent of the registrations sign up through their driver license renewal process. Currently Arizona has about 3.4 million people who have agreed to donate organs, tissue, corneas or the entire body.
The Donor Network of Arizona works with five transplant centers and two body donation centers
Most of these donations are made once a person has died, but living people can also donate kidneys, part of other organs and tissue.
Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network officials reported that as of Aug 8, 2018, there were 2,206 people in Arizona on the waiting list for transplants. 1,905 were waiting for a kidney and 194 for a liver. Others were waiting for a pancreas, kidney and pancreas together, heart or lung, and one is waiting for a heart and lung joint transplant.
Roger Ball can be reached at 623-876-2523 or firstname.lastname@example.org.