Dallas, Texas— 48 year old Kenny DeCay of Arlington, TX is the recipient of the 1000th living donor kidney transplant at Baylor University Medical Center. DeCay’s donor, Janiece DeCay traveled from Atlanta, GA to give the gift of life to her brother-in-law. The Baylor Transplant program is the first in north Texas to reach this historic 1000th living donor kidney transplant milestone.
A living donor kidney transplant is the fastest way to receive a kidney transplant. According to Giuliano Testa, MD, FACS, MBA, surgical chief of abdominal transplantation, a kidney from a living donor is typically the best quality kidney. “It begins to function more quickly after transplant and lasts significantly longer than kidneys from diseased donors. Mr. DeCay’s new kidney started working immediately after transplant.” Dr. Testa went on to praise DeCay’s donor, saying, “Donating an organ is one of the greatest displays of love.”
DeCay learned he had kidney disease after his twin brother received a living donor kidney transplant in 2006; also at Baylor. DeCay’s doctor recommended he get checked out since kidney disease often runs in families. “I wanted to delay the possibility of transplant for as long as possible. Despite treatment with my nephrologist and my dedication to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, the possibility of dialysis was looming. I knew that the line for a kidney is forever, so I started looking for possible donors. I did not want to go on dialysis.”
Decay wanted a preemptive kidney transplant, meaning he would have a transplant before he went on dialysis. If he could find a living donor. He spread the word among friends, co-workers and fraternity brothers. DeCay says he had several potential donors, but ultimately the best match turned out to be his oldest brother’s wife. “Janiece is incredible. When she said she wanted to be tested, I was grateful. When she turned out to be a match, I was thrilled! I call it a miracle. My sister-in-law is the best.”
Janiece came to Dallas from Atlanta for evaluation and learned all about the process of living kidney donation. One kidney is plenty to keep the body healthy. Living donation does not change the donor’s life expectancy, does not increase the risk of other medical problems, and recovery after surgery is usually brief. Living donor transplant is easily scheduled at the convenience of both the donor and recipient. “Why did I do it? Why not?” said Janiece, the day after donating a kidney. “I’m blessed to be part of this family and this was something I wanted to do for my family. We all benefit.”
Janiece was released from the hospital two days after surgery. Kenny went home on day three. Donor and recipient will spend their recovery together at Kenny’s home in Arlington.
Surgeons on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center, perform an average of 32 living donor liver transplants every year. In 2017, 53 living donor kidney transplants took place at Baylor and the surgical team and coordinators hope to surpass that number in 2018.
Donating a kidney to a friend, family member or other person is a big decision. We have a dedicated living donor team at Baylor Transplant that is readily available to answer all your questions and guide you through the process. For more information about the living donor transplant program, call 214-820-2050 or log onto livingdonordallas.org.