South Carolina Pastor Seeking New Kidney After Damage Caused by Diabetes and Recent Bout With Coronavirus and Pneumonia

Pastor Michael O’Neal with his family

Thousands of people are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. An Aiken pastor is one of them.

Some would say he’s helping to save lives from the pulpit but now, he’s looking for a donor to help save his life. Pastor Michael O’Neal has faced a life of high blood pressure and diabetes and COVID caused a major issue. “My bout with COVID and pneumonia did a number on the kidneys,” he told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk. “I went to the hospital in reference to kidney stones, it pretty much pulled my kidney percentage down all the way to like 4%. And it was a very much need then for me to seek some type of dialysis treatment to be able to continue functioning,” he recalled.

Dialysis treatments are three times a week. While it’s not taxing on his body, O’Neal says, it’s more of a mental challenge. “Right now, I’m trying to get adjusted and trying to keep focused and stay positive.”

Now he’s one of the more than 100,000 people searching for a kidneyAugusta University Health performs nearly a hundred kidney transplant surgeries in a typical year.

“It’s a big problem especially in the southeast and in Georgia [and South Carolina],” Surgical Director for Transplant Surgery Dr. Muhammad Saeed said. “We have a significant number of people who have a history of hypertension and diabetes,” he added.

While O’Neal would be thankful for any donor, he’s searching for one type in particular. “Some people make it, some people don’t. The best approach for me after much prayer is seeking out a living donor,” he said.

“I personally believe that is a better option now for the people who need a kidney transplant,” Dr. Saeed added. “Just strictly talked about the longevity of the kidney, but both of them can be very, very successful,” said Dr. Seed.

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SOURCE: WJBF, Shawn Cabbagestalk