|Lisa and Ed Balcita
Surging COVID-19 doesn’t mean other ailments take a holiday. People still cope with the usual range of illness, though the pandemic tends to add complications.
Take Ed and Lisa Balcita, of Berwyn.
Ed had kidney failure from decades of diabetes. In 2017, he went on the transplant list, where he did what people do on transplant lists. He waited.
The average wait for a kidney is about four years. About 100,000 people are waiting, and each year, about 5,000 of them die waiting. Ed’s kidney function dropped to 10 percent of normal while he was on the list, waiting.
Sometimes a spouse will donate a kidney. Ed’s wife certainly wanted to.
“When the doctor told me, ‘Perhaps a living donor...’ I knew right away I was going to be tested,” said Lisa.
But she wasn’t a match. Ed’s body would reject her kidney. Nor could Lisa be part of a chain donation — where one donor gives a kidney to a second recipient, paired with a donor who isn’t a match either, and that donor gives to a third recipient, whose donor gives to another, until they reach someone who can give to the original recipient in the first pair.
Another problem: Lisa has AB blood. The rarest kind, found in just 4 percent of the population.
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