MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Jeff Nelson continues to search for a perfect match in his quest to find a kidney donor. Back in March, FOX6 News profiled Nelson, after he took out a billboard seeking a donor in the Menomonee Valley.
Nelson has polycystic kidney disease. Today, his kidneys are the size of two NFL footballs, filled with thousands if not millions of cysts.
“My kidney function is down to 11%,” Nelson said.
Nelson did get some response after taking out the billboard, and eventually contacted Froedtert Hospital to see whether any of those who responded would be matches.
“We had about 40 new interests in trying to help him as the result of the billboard,” Stephanie Albano with Froedtert Hospital said.
One person didn’t see the billboard, but saw a story on it, and he wrote a letter asking FOX6 News to contact Nelson to let him know he wanted to be his live kidney donor. However, Scott Andra-Stek is an inmate in the Kettle Moraine Correctional Institute.
“The letter from Scott was amazing,” Nelson said.
Because of the cost and the aftercare that may be needed, Scott’s offer had to be declined.
“It’s unfortunate that he can’t be a living kidney donor for me at this time and he’ll need to wait until he’s released from prison. It was a wonderful gesture and maybe I can meet him one day. We’ll see,” Nelson said.
Of the other 40 people who expressed interest in donating — half were excluded very early for different reasons, and some, who are incompatible with Nelson are being tested for a kidney exchange program in Nelson’s honor.
“They donate to someone they’re a match with in another pool of patients and then another recipient in that pool has a living donor who would in turn donate to Nelson,” Albano said.
Nelson hopes that more people might come forward to be tested as potential donors. Nelson says even if they’re not a match for him, they could be a match for others.
CLICK HERE to visit Jeff’s Facebook page: JeffsKidney.com
CLICK HERE to learn more about becoming an organ donor.