Folsom man's blood donation leads to shocking discovery

A Folsom family is on a life-saving quest after the father was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease.

We all know that donating blood can save someone's life, but what if that life is your own?

A Folsom man received a shocking letter after trying to donate blood several years ago.

It was a letter that changed his life, and how he and his family are on a life-saving quest.

"We have been through a lot together," Amanda said. "Thankfully, we're very strong and our relationship is strong."

Flash back about eight years ago, before kids. Shahar was taking classes and in the library one day, when he happened upon a mobile blood donation bus.

"I just decided to donate," Shahar explained to ABC10 News.

"A few weeks later," Amanda said, "we got a letter in the mail informing us that his blood could not be used because they believed he had contracted a rare West African virus."

"I was like, 'What? Like, I've never even been there,'" Shahar said.

The couple went to get Shahar tested.

The good news? The blood center was wrong about the West African Virus.

The bad news?

"I'll never forget," Amanda recalled. "We just sat there, and the nephrologist came in, introduced himself and said to the Shahar, 'You have polycystic kidney disease, and total kidney failure is inevitable within 10 to 15 years.'"

Polycistic kidney disease is a genetic condition where cysts develop in a person's two kidneys.

"I did get obviously sad and didn't know what to think," Shahar said, "but, you know, we talked and we figured out what we need to do when we get there, to this moment."

This moment ended up not being "10 to 15 years" later, as the doctor originally predicted, but about half that, when Shahar's kidney's started declining last year.

While Shahar sits on the donor list, the couple is actively looking for a living person to give him one of their kidneys.

"There's no greater gift than giving, you know, any kind of organ to anyone else, to save a life," Shahar said.

"My hope is that this difficult time is just a little blip in a long life together," Amanda said, tears welling in her eyes. "I hope that one day we look back and this was just something hard that we survived together."

On their Facebook page, A Kidney for Shahar, is a link to the UC Davis Living Donor Interest Form. The Sigals are looking for a kidney from a healthy man in his 30s or 40s, who is at least 6 feet tall and has A+ or O blood type.

The Sigals want a long life together as a happy family and urge others to be aware of kidney disease symptoms. Those include high blood pressure, fatigue and foam in one's urine.

"I would say just go to your doctor and ask for blood and urine tests," Amanda said.

These days, Shahar is on daily dialysis. He stays at home and rests a lot, waiting for a kidney that can't come soon enough.

Kidney-related diseases (Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis) account for the ninth leading cause of death in the US every year, the CDC says.

Currently, nearly 97,000 Americans are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant.

However, patients who find a living donor willing to give one of their kidneys specifically to them can bypass that list.

Visit the Sigals' Facebook page HERE.

Learn more about polycystic kidney disease HERE.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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