Kevin and Florence met as youthful high school students. In the halls of their Cincinnati high school their lifelong love story began, and on August 15, 2012 Kevin gave his wife the priceless Gift of Life.
Kevin knew, with unwavering doubt, that he would do anything to save his wife’s life. Their 24 years of marriage had brought many trials, including Florence’s progressive kidney failure and loss of sight starting in 2008. After four years of dialysis, job losses and insurance changes, the family had experienced their fair share of ups and downs on the road to a lifesaving transplant. Florence’s vision had deteriorated to the point of blindness and as a result Kevin had become the sole provider for their family of three.
Throughout four painful years of dialysis treatments, Florence longed for a lifesaving transplant. Family members and friends, who readily agreed to be tested, had fears that stifled their willingness to donate. Fortunately, Kevin was a match! As the sole financial provider and Florence’s primary care, he knew donating a kidney to his wife would be difficult; but Kevin was determined to find a way to make it work.
“From the time we found out I could donate to Florence, it was a really slow journey. The insurance I had wouldn’t accept the transplant and we couldn’t afford a $500,000 transplant. When I lost my job we thought all hope was lost. Months later I was hired to work for a company that provided insurance that covered transplants. But we were still facing big problems- not only was I going to be physically hurting and unable to help Florence while I was healing, we also found out that my disability income would be significantly lower than what we needed.”
Working for a manufacturing company in Tennessee, Kevin would be unable to work his physically demanding job for 4 to 6 weeks following his donation. With a stark decrease in his income, the family made some necessary cut backs. Even after eliminating some of the essentials, the family knew they were going to fall short on some of their payments, including their monthly rent. Distressed, Kevin proactively began looking for assistance. Thankfully, his social worker at the University of Tennessee Transplant Center knew exactly who could help, the American Transplant Foundation!
“The generosity shown by the American Transplant Foundation alleviated the immense pressure I was feeling when I thought about how we were going to pay for our rent. Thank you for helping us when we needed it the most. You showed me the light at the end of the tunnel, and from then on I knew it was all going to work out.” – Kevin
With the help of his social worker, Kevin applied for emergency financial assistance through the Foundation’s Patient Assistance Program. Within days, the Foundation had approved the request and notified Kevin that his rent would be covered during his recovery!
“Knowing that financial assistance was granted made me feel more at ease about our situation. I was running through things in my head and I kept thinking there was no way we were going to make it through this. With the help that ATF provided it definitely took care of the major bill for that time period- our rent.”
Both Florence and Kevin are healing well. After a month of healing, Kevin is headed back to work.
“Florence just looks so much healthier,” said Kevin. “Her body is healing and you can see a tremendous improvement in her level of energy.”
Perhaps the saying – it takes a village to raise a child- applies to the journey of a transplant patient. In the case of Kevin and Florence, it certainly does. To all our donors, volunteers and supporters, thank you for being part of the village that helped Kevin give the Gift of Life to the love of his life.