When Robin Reeves married her husband Scott four years ago, she signed on for better or for worse, never dreaming the worst might come unexpectedly.
"My husband Scott suffers from Goodpasture's syndrome, which is very rare," said Robin Reeves. "It's a pulmonary-renal disease, and he lost all function of his kidneys two years ago."
In January, Scott was put on the kidney transplant waiting list, but he didn't have to wait long. Turns out, his wife is his perfect match in more ways than one. On May 7th, Robin gave one of her kidneys to Scott.
"You know a lot of people I talked to are amazed," said Reeves. "They think I'm a hero, they think, 'Wow, what an incredible thing.' And I really don't think of it that way. If you can do it, you just do it. I'm just so happy we were a match."
But not every one on the transplant list is as lucky as Scott. As of May 1st, almost 2,400 people in Michigan were waiting for a kidney transplant.
The waiting list is terrible, esp in Michigan, said Reeves. "It is a four to five year waiting list to get a kidney."
That's why Reeves is working with the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan to raise awareness about kidney disease.
"It's just something that you don't expect to happen to you," said David Martinez, with the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan. "And before you know it, it's become a disease. It's a debilitating disease in the sense that if you're not taking care of it, you may have to end up getting dialysis or get a kidney transplant. Those are the things we're trying to avoid in Michigan."
They also encourage people to register as organ donors with the Secretary of State's office.
"It is definitely worth getting on that registry," said Reeves. "And if you ever have a loved one that is in need of a kidney transplant, you can survive on one."
And surviving on one is more than worth it, she says, to save her husband's life.
More than 900,000 adults in Michigan have chronic kidney disease. Many adults with chronic kidney disease don't even know they have it because there are very few symptoms in the early stages. Experts recommend getting your doctor to test your kidney function, and asking about the risk factors or preventative steps you can take.
To raise awareness about kidney disease, the National Kidney Foundation is hosting a walk in Lansing this Saturday. It will start at the Cooley Law School Stadium. Check-in begins at 8 a.m. and the walk starts at 9 a.m. Each walker over the age of 2 is asked to raise at least $10 to participate
The walk helps raise money for kidney disease research, and also funds educational and support programs. If you can't make it to the walk but would like to donate to the National Kidney Foundation, stop into a CASE Credit Union branch. Each branch is selling paper flowers to raise money. Or you can visit www.kidney.org.