Life-saving donation deepens friendship

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - It's one thing to give a friend a ride to the airport or help them move. But when your friend needs a kidney, would you jump to their rescue?
Two Michigan State University students, 24-year-old Brandon Mistry and 22-year-old Nick VanAcker, now share more than just a life-long friendship they share a deeper bond.
And that started with five words Mistry had been dreading for a long time -- "you need a new kidney."

"I knew this day would come eventually, they told me that the functionality was coming down, we don't know when it could be a few years or it could be many years down the line," said Mistry.

Brandon Mistry has dealt with kidney problems stemming from a birth defect since childhood. His ureters were being constricted by blood vessels. The ureter is a tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder, and there are two, each attached to one kidney. And because Mistry's were restricted this made his kidneys work harder than normal. It wasn't until he has 9 years-old when doctors realized what was going on with him.
Last summer his doctor informed him that he needed a new kidney. Mistry said he didn't want to ask people for one. So he said he started to tell friends and family his situation.

"I really wanted to a deceased donor just because I didn't want Nick or anybody to go through this process with me," said Mistry.

That didn't stop several friends from coming forward once Mistry told them about his situation. Mistry said eight friends showed interest but only four would take the next step and contact doctors to get tested to see if they could be a potential donor. Mistry said he was not disappointed that those friends backed out.

"It's a very scary thing to do, you're putting your life at risk the moment you go under, but I understand why. I don't blame them 100%, I understand why they didn't make that next step" said Mistry.

Two that would be a match, including his best friend Nick VanAcker.

"right away he told me what can I do, what can I do to help. I didn't ask him didn't even need to, just told him this is what's going on with me and he came forward and said give me the number.I'll do it today if I could" said, Mistry.

"It's a difficult decision definitely but it was something I knew I was capable of doing, and I had two kidneys and he needed one. But then immediately went from wow this is surprising to immediately jumping into action and saying, of course, anything you need, I'll be there for you" said Nick VanAcker, Mistry's best friend, and kidney donor.

And had VanAcker not been there for him, Mistry said he would have had to go on dialysis while waiting for a deceased donor. And he said that comes with its own list of complications. "I wouldn't be able to go to work, I possibly would be able to go to school, but it kills your schedule beyond belief and then you can only be on dialysis for about five to ten years before it starts to wear out other organs," said Mistry.

Mistry thinks one of the reasons why the waiting list is so long is not enough awareness. He said, "there's a lot of unknown and with those unknown people are not going to take that step forward to learn without that knowledge."
Van Acker expressed how simple the procedure was with him experiencing very little side effects. "It's super easy...also one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. I joked that I went into the hospital fell asleep and it was all over" said VanAcker.

They hope their story will bring more awareness to organ donation.

The transplant surgery was done in early October, and Mistry and VanAcker tell me they both feel like their old selves again.


LINK: U.S. Government Information on Organ Donation and Transplantation