WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — March is National Kidney Month, a time to raise awareness about kidney disease. One Woodford County man is celebrating a better quality of life after receiving a new kidney.
For years, Walker Terhune, an athletic trainer for UK Sports Medicine and Woodford County High School, had been dealing with a kidney disease called IgA nephropathy. In the last year, his kidney function took a dive. Since some people can wait years on an organ transplant list, he started searching for a living donor. Through social media and friends, the word got out until he received good news in January.
“People from as far away as Washington State, Las Vegas were calling to get screened, but locally, Woodford County, I feel like the entire county is behind me,” said Terhune.
As it turns out, he found a match close by with Dee Morgan, the mother of former student athletes he used to train. Morgan had actually tried to be a living donor years ago for an anonymous recipient, but it fell through. When she found out she was a match for Terhune, she felt she was meant to help.
“It's a small world, you know? It's the best feeling in the world to be able to help him,” said Morgan.
Terhune says Morgan was able to help just in time, since he was approaching the need for dialysis and may have even been able to start.
Their surgeries were on February 26 and both say their recovery has been going well. Full recovery will take time, but Terhune says he's looking forward to working out again and having a better quality of life with his kidney disease now in remission.
“You look down and look at your incision and you're like, 'Wow, that there is a new kidney in there working,” said Terhune. “It's going to be making small adjustments, but just the goal is staying active and healthy. Being able to get back on the golf course, start playing again, go hiking and camping, all that stuff.”
After her experience, Morgan encourages people to see if they can be living donors.
“I so want people to get out there, get their blood tested and see if they can donate, even if it's not to somebody that they know,” she said. “If I had 100 more kidneys, I would do this 100 more times.”