Bill Griffith, a former chaplain for emergency services in Cleveland in dire need of a kidney transplant, has recently been accepted for transplant at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Kidney …
Bill Griffith, a former chaplain for emergency services in Cleveland in dire need of a kidney transplant, has recently been accepted for transplant at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Kidney Transplant Center.
While the news is good, a kidney is still needed, and since the transplant may occur at UA, a living kidney donor is the only viable one the hospital will accept. According to transplant surgeons, at Griffith’s stage of kidney failure, a living donor’s kidney would provide the best long-term results.
Griffith said many people wondered why he’d want to go through a second evaluation through UA if he’s already listed at Piedmont Kidney Transplant Center at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta.
“The answer is it simply increases my chances a little of finding a suitable donor,” he said. “Often, people choose a transplant center closest to their home for convenience, but it is possible to list at multiple centers, if you wish.”
On his erratic health journey since 2010, Griffith became disabled in 2012. In 2013, he relocated to the Florida coast.
“The doctor believed the fresh, saltwater air would be a good setting for me,” Griffith said.
Shortly after relocating, doctors discovered he had developed an autoimmune deficiency, which led to him developing a neuromuscular disease called polymiositis.
“In 2014, I ended up in the hospital with double pneumonia. By nightfall I was in full end-stage renal failure,” Griffith said.
Discovering he had developed adult respiratory distress, Griffith believed he was at "heaven’s door," but says that God still had a plan for his life. Doctors placed him on a drug for ARDS that caused his blood sugar to spike, but also affected his vision. His vision has now deteriorated to the point he's considered legally blind; as a testament to this, he said he hasn’t driven in three years.
“God has blessed me to be able to see some of the best doctors in the world,” he added. “Unfortunately, after this event, I’ve slowly began to lose more kidney function from that day up until now.”
He is struggling, as his kidney function has dwindled to less than 10 percent. Every few weeks he goes in for lab tests, which will determine whether he has to begin dialysis later, as he had originally planned, or sooner depending upon his kidney function.
While he doesn’t want to begin dialysis any time soon, he knows it could be his only option eventually.
According to Griffith, 100,000 people in America need kidneys at the moment, and 20 people die each day from being deprived of a kidney.
As a means of protection, he refrains from public activities around potentially sick individuals, and only goes into large crowds while wearing a surgical mask.
Regardless of his predicament, Griffith still exclaims praise for God, as he feels Jesus has gotten him all the way to this point despite all odds.
He cited Jeremiah 29:11 as his rallying verse, which reads, “I say this because I know the plans I have for you. I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future” (ERV Bible).
Particular foods must be avoided by Griffith, as getting things like potassium and phosphates in overabundance can be dangerous. He said he was originally eating baked potatoes, beans and broccoli very often, but quickly found out he cannot eat these very often.
Griffith established his Kidney Transplant Support Fund at local Teachers Credit Unions in Cleveland, as well as a GoFundMe page, and is still currently accepting donations to both. He and his family sell prayer bands and T-shirts that read “Bill’s Team.”
“I’m so very appreciative of any contribution I get. Thank you for praying for me and my family as I continue to deal with critical end stage kidney failure. I need your help if you are willing to be a possible kidney donor. If you’d consider being one, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can get you started on a simple process to becoming a possible living kidney donor. Please pray I find a matching donor kidney soon,” Griffith said.
As a testament to his need, Griffith will often ask any new face he encounters if they’d be willing to be a kidney donor for him after explaining his situation to them. He said if he’s in an elevator with strangers, he’ll know by the time they reach their destination if any might be willing donors.
Griffith believes getting a kidney is only a matter of time, and fervently believes God will provide him one.
If interested in donating through GoFundMe, go to the website https://www.gofundme.com/5cj24l4 .
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