Fenton Township Clerk Robert Krug is in need of a kidney.
Krug, 74, of Fenton Township, lost one of his kidneys when he battled cancer 18 years ago.
About a year ago, in May 2019, his physician told him he would need dialysis due to the condition of his remaining kidney. Three months later, he began the daily ritual with a home program.
Krug is just one of approximately 3,000 people on a waiting list for a kidney from someone who has died or a living donor willing to give up one of their kidneys.
He said several people have approached him about donating their kidney, however, there has been no match. He said a living donor would be best because physicians would have access to all of that donor’s medical information.
Krug said one possible donor for him had kidney stones in the past. That condition could cause kidney problems in their future, so donating a kidney now had to be ruled out.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, the organ most commonly given by a living donor is the kidney. Parts of other organs including the lung, liver and pancreas are now being transplanted from living donors.
To donate a kidney, one must be in good physical and mental health. Typically, a person should be 18 years or older and must also have normal kidney function.
There are some medical conditions that could prevent a person from being a living donor. These include having uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, HIV, hepatitis, or acute infections. Having a serious mental health condition that requires treatment may also prevent that person from being a donor, according to kidney.org.
Krug is on the kidney waiting list through the University of Michigan Hospital. He will soon be registered with the University of Toledo Hospital to increase his chances of finding a living donor.
“Getting information out to the people is important,” Krug said. “A healthy person can live forever with one kidney. The dialysis is still helping but you can only do that for so long.”
Through the kidney registry, Krug said it’s possible that someone unrelated to him and living in another state could be his match. He added that someone who offers him a kidney could end up being a perfect match for someone other than him.
Krug said living donors would have their medical expenses covered by the organ recipient’s insurance and there are programs to cover any lost wages during the transplant experience.
Beyond questionnaires, surveys and tests to determine the health of a donor and if there’s a match, downtime for the donor is minimal and hospital stays are typically a day, said Krug. He added that once you become a kidney donor, if any time later in your life you need a kidney, you will be put at the top of the wait list.
Krug’s life goals right now are to spoil his grandkids and watch their sports. His daily dialysis also enables him to attend Fenton Township meetings.
If anyone is interested in donating a kidney, for Krug, or for any of the thousands on the waiting list, they are encouraged to research their options at kidney.org and to call 1-800-333-9013. This call will get you in contact with the UM Hospital system.