A kidney for Tim
His life on the line, a Humboldt man is searching for a living kidney donor with O-positive blood type
HUMBOLDT — Tim Wredt is looking for a miracle — a miracle he has just nine months to find.
Wredt, who lives in Humboldt, is in search of a living kidney donor with an O-positive blood type. Suffering from late stage kidney disease, Wredt has very little function in his kidneys.
“I started losing my kidney function years ago,” Tim Wredt said.
It was a gradual process, he said, so it was hard to notice until the last three or four months.
“I notice that it’s gone down quickly,” he said. “At this point, I’m down to 15 percent use of my kidneys.”
Wredt received this grim diagnosis weeks ago, and turned to Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines for testing to see if he is a good candidate to receive a kidney donation.
“It’s two solid days of testing,” he said.
Initially, the doctors said everything looked good, but he was later given some more grim news.
The toll of the kidney disease has begun showing on Wredt’s other organs — he’s also been diagnosed with stage IV liver disease.
The hospital transferred Wredt’s care to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics because they were better equipped to tackle the possibility of a kidney and liver transplant.
“They say that I’m a prime candidate,” Wredt said, adding that he initially thought it would be a rather quick process. “Then they say it will more than likely be about five years before I get a kidney.”
But later, he was told that in five years, he’d be too old for a kidney transplant. He was then told that the U of I Organ Transplant Center wouldn’t put him on their deceased donor waiting list, or its living donor waiting list. Instead, he would have to search for his own living kidney donor — and he’d have only nine months to search before having to restart the process of testing and evaluating if he’s a candidate for a transplant.
Unfortunately, due to diabetes running in his family, he doesn’t have any family members who can donate. Last week, hurt and frustrated, Wredt’s daughter, Andrea Wredt, of Humboldt, put out a plea on Facebook, asking for people to come forward and donate a kidney.
“I just wanted to put the word out,” she said.
Tim Wredt is especially close to Andrea’s daughter, Rose, and 4-year-old son Ryder. Andrea calls her father Ryder’s best friend. Despite being ill, Tim has taken time to go to Rose’s nursing classes at Iowa Central Community College to talk about the fistula that doctors have created in his left arm to prepare him for dialysis.
In the meantime, as Tim Wredt awaits the day he receives a call that a donor kidney has been located, he will continue to receive dialysis treatment several times a week.
While dialysis will help sustain him for a while, it is only a temporary fix.
“It’s not the answer,” Andrea Wredt said.
Staring down a nine-month deadline to find a suitable living kidney donor is daunting, but the Wredts are staying optimistic.
“There’s got to be someone out there who can help,” Andrea Wredt said.
The average waiting time for a kidney from a deceased donor is three to five years, according to Donate Life America, a nonprofit that advocates for organ and tissue donation. There are currently 90,000 people in the U.S. who are on the national transplant waiting list for a donor kidney.
The procedure is performed with a minimally invasive laparoscopic method, which allows the donor to be discharged home within three days and usually return to work within two weeks, according to the U of I Organ Transplant Center website.
Donors must meet criteria for donation, including being over the age of 21, be in good health and have normal kidney function and anatomy.
The medical expenses related to donating an organ — including evaluation, testing and surgery — are paid for by the recipient’s health insurance. There are financial support funds available for travel and lodging expenses.
Though the Wredt family would like to eventually meet a donor who provides a kidney for Tim, donors are able to remain anonymous.
To start the steps to see if you are a candidate for organ donation and a possible match for Tim Wredt, visit https://uiowa.donorscreen.org. On the section that asks for donation details, please write “Tim Wredt.”