Siblings from Colton diagnosed with kidney disease within days of one another were fortunate enough to find matching donors from inside their family.
“Halfway when I was on dialysis, I started being way more tired, way more irritable. My phosphorus was, like, uncontrollable,” kidney recipient Kimberly Coyt told KTLA.
Smiling and healthy, it was not long ago that things were different for Kimberly.
Her brother, Oscar, was diagnosed first.
At the time, in 2018, Kimberly wanted to help and donate her kidney to her brother, but doctors said no. The sibling’s father also had kidney disease and doctors believed it could be hereditary.
After some tests, it turned out that Kimberly also needed a kidney transplant.
“With Oscar, we knew it right away because the kidney was already dying fast,” Sara Coyt, their mother, told KTLA. “Kimberly, they say they can control it a little bit with diet.”
Sara donated her kidney to Oscar. She also applied to help her daughter, but that wasn’t possible.
“Trying to get a kidney for Kimberly is not like something you can ask somebody. Somebody has to come forward and say, ‘I’ll give you my kidney.’ I saw her really bad. I really thought she was going to die,” Sara said.
More than 30 family members and extended family members applied to donate their kidneys. After pandemic delays and what’s already a lengthy process to find a donor, Kimberly’s uncle, Carlos, was a match.
“I was so excited. I was, like, finally my life could start. My life was on hold,” Kimberly said.
Dr. Michael De Vera, a transplant surgeon at Loma Linda University Medical Center, where Oscar and Kimberly had their surgeries performed, explained just how long a process finding a donor usually takes.
“There are approximately almost 100,000 people in the United States waiting for kidney transplants and the wait times here in Southern California are the longest in the country,” De Vera told KTLA.
Kimberly’s successful transplant marks the 1,000th living donor transplant for Loma Linda University Medical Center. The hospital is also celebrating a total of 4,000 kidney transplants.