Gwyn DeLeon was just 15 when she went into kidney failure in 2022 from a condition called IgA nephropathy (also called Berger's disease) that may be genetic.
“My blood pressure was through the roof. It was just crazy, and I was so fatigued. It was hard for me to walk and it was kind of hard for me to breathe,” Gwyn said.
At first her family thought it was pneumonia, but that wasn’t the case. “We did the lab tests and the results came back quickly. They said, ‘Hey, it’s your kidneys,’” Gwyn said.
“We know that getting a kidney transplant offers a much, much better long-term outcome health wise compared to long-term dialysis,” said Dr. Daniel Ranch, a pediatric kidney specialist at University Health.
Symptoms of Kidney Disease
- Feeling tired, having less energy, having trouble sleeping
- Skin is dry and itchy
- Foamy urine or urine that contains blood
- Poor appetite
- Muscle cramps
“Unfortunately, a lot of kidney disease is silent until it’s really bad, and that’s when you have symptoms, so you obviously don’t want to wait that long,” Ranch said.
Waitlist for Kidney Transplant
Right now, there are 121,678 people waiting for lifesaving organ transplants in the U.S. About 1 in 6 of people on that list are waiting for a kidney.
Gwyn and her mother Beverly used social media to help her find a living donor kidney.
Finding a Living Kidney Donor
“The first day I shared it, there were 10 people who told me they did it, and when we found out that there were hundreds, oh my gosh, I cried,” Beverly said.
Gwyn’s story was published in a Devine newspaper, and now, after getting a kidney from an unnamed donor, Gwyn encourages anyone who can to become a living donor.
“It’s the most unselfish thing you can do,” Gwyn said.
Kidney Transplant Care at University Health
Learn more about kidney transplant care for adults and children at University Health on our website.