A Long Beach man is asking for a very special lifesaving gift.
Curtis Kaiser started a campaign asking for a kidney online. He says he had to take matters into his own hands because the wait list is too long.
For Kaiser, his wife, and two children, this is the season for Chanukah. Before they unwrap presents and eat, they light the candles while singing.
Everything seems joyous, but there’s one thing they’re all thinking about: Curtis’s health.
His kidneys slowly started failing him when he was just a little older than his children are now.
It’s getting to the point where he’ll need a new kidney or have to go on dialysis, where machines act like your kidneys. This takes several hours per visit and he would need multiple visits every week. Each time he’d risk infection.
Kaiser’s wife Kristie cooks for the family and is teaching part-time, which has been helpful since his health battle has taken over their lives. Kristie was ruled out as a possible kidney donor, as were Kaiser’s brother and first cousin.
Out of desperation, they started sharing their story with anyone who would listen. They hoped to find a donor that way.
The kids are pretty tired of all the kidney talk by now and the whole family knows way too much about IGA nephropathy, the name of Kaiser’s kidney disease.
One of the family’s favorite distractions from all this is just behind the Christmas tree. That’s right, a Christmas tree, because they celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas.
The family plays Zingo together. It’s kind of like a new take on bingo. It gets the kids pretty riled up, but then they launch into their pre-bedtime routines.
The family has had to get comfortable sharing intimate details of their lives hoping to inspire a donor. Curtis learned this is pretty normal for people who need a kidney. The nonprofit United Network For Organ Sharing even advises patients how to take their stories to social media.
The average wait time for a kidney is three to five years. Unfortunately, Kaiser may not have that long to wait.
They don’t just talk about their story, they’ve written it down. Kaiser’s search for a kidney was made into a website to push their story even further.
There’s no guaranteed donor yet.