OF LIVES SAVED
Statistics show the typical wait time on a kidney transplant list is three to five years. The National Kidney Foundation recommends exploring transplant early in the disease course, before dialysis is needed.
This is exactly what Blaine did - starting the pre-emptive process of getting on a local transplant center list in 2018. Blaine is the husband of Theresa Himes, senior customer manager in Toledo.
The process of determining whether a patient is a viable candidate for transplant is complex and involves many tests. Blaine was nearly finished with the testing when he received bad news. He had three blocked arteries to his heart and would need a triple bypass surgery.
However, in January 2019, before his scheduled surgery, Blaine suffered a heart attack and underwent emergency bypass surgery. The heart attack placed greater stress on Blaine's body so he began dialysis. "Because of the dialysis, it was even more important that we got on the transplant list," said Theresa.
Life changing letter
In July, Blaine received a letter from Susan Rees, a nurse with Rejuvenate Healthcare. Susan and her husband, Dr. Michael Rees, co-founded Rejuvenate. The organization is dedicated to improving the lives of people suffering from kidney failure and helping them overcome barriers to kidney transplants.
Working with Aetna, Blaine had been identified as a patient dealing with kidney issues. Susan's letter offered to help identify the best treatment options.
Susan visited the couple and outlined how Rejuvenate could help navigate the complex process of getting on the kidney transplant list. While there was no guarantee Blaine would make it on a list, the opportunity sounded too good to pass up.
On Oct. 7, Blaine learned he had been approved for the transplant list. And, a potential kidney became available the same day.
"Dr. Rees and his wife were very personable and caring," Theresa noted. "Susan sat with me during the surgery and afterwards Dr. Rees spent time going over the procedure and how it went."