Family turns to social media to find kidney donor
SEDALIA, Mo. —A Missouri family is using an unusual technique to try to find a kidney donor.
Kevin Heuerman, a Sedalia husband and father, has polycystic kidney disease. He said his biggest wish is to get a call to come to Research Medical Center in Kansas City for a kidney transplant.
"A healthy kidney is about the size of a fist," Heuerman said. "Mine, right now, they say are the size of footballs."
The disease has covered Heuerman's kidneys with growing cysts, causing the organs to lose function. He spends 12 hours each week at a clinic for dialysis, time that keeps him away from his family. He said it's been tough on his son.
"He'll be 10 in July," Heuerman said. "It's hard to tell him sometimes that I have to rest or I can't go out and do this or that."
With his kidneys functioning at less than 10 percent, Heuerman has been placed on the donor registry. The average wait is three to five years, so his wife has gone in search of that kidney herself.
"We're best friends and there's nothing I wouldn't do for him," said Melissa Heuerman.
Her first stop was Facebook, where a page calling attention to the family's need gained traction overnight.
"We've had people share it in California, Hawaii and Arkansas," she said.
She also has a sign she takes with her everywhere she goes.
"Impact Signs and Lighting called us and said that they would like to put it on my car for free," Melissa Heuerman said.
"I knew when it was going to happen and we started doing all the testing – I knew that she's not the kind of person that can be quiet about anything," Kevin Heuerman said.
The family needs a donor with Type O blood who falls within a specific body mass index and tissue typing. They have faith that they will find that donor.
"That would just mean everything to me," Kevin Heuerman said. "Being able to take my kids somewhere and not have to worry about being tired."
"I would go from seeing my husband struggle to getting him back," Melissa Heuerman said.
Anyone who wants to find out whether they are a match can call Research Medical Center at 816-822-8257. The line is always open.