Kokomo man going the extra mile to find his wife a new kidney

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KOKOMO, Ind. (July 1, 2015) -- Jim Spier is hitting the road with a purpose. He's going the extra mile around Kokomo to find a kidney donor for his wife. The couple saw the idea on Facebook and decided to give it a try.

"It came in and I stuck it on there and right away we started getting some interest," he said.

Jim says people will give him a thumbs up or a honk and many people have even called the number to see if they could be a match. Jim says the extra effort is worth it if it means he'll get his wife back.

"Frustrated with this dialysis. Some days she don't feel good she lays on the couch but we always have this hope she's going to get a kidney through the transplant."

Kathy Spier has been on the transplant list at St. Vincent for the past three years. She uses a home dialysis machine every day. Kathy's renal failure is an inherited condition she was born with and could manage up until a few years ago when her kidney function dropped below 10%. She says the process is draining and has kept her from enjoying her life.

"Just live normally and not constantly on edge. Am I going to get the call? Am I going to get to feel good again? Am I going to get to live a long time with my husband?"

This devoted husband hits the road everyday hoping someone who calls will be a match. Kathy says the response shows this sign is turning heads and people are taking action.

"I'm real pleased because the people that have called have been so nice and genuine that they really want to try and help me and I'm overwhelmed," said Kathy.

After three decades of love Jim says he'll stop at nothing to save his wife.

"Seems like 30 years is not nearly enough for us to get to enjoy each other. We want more."

Donors can refer themselves by calling Tammi Rader directly at 317-338-2694. The evaluation is divided into three phases:

  1. First phase is to see if the donor is compatible with the recipient.
  2. If the donor is compatible with the recipient, they need go get a lab blood draw. The lab tests to look at the donor’s health and how healthy they are through lab work – particularly looking at kidney disease, diabetes and more.
  3. Third phase is an all day evaluation appointment with 8 members of the team. This is inclusive of chest x-ray, CT Scans and EKG. If they are selected by the selection committee, surgery is scheduled based on when it works the best for the donor.

Donors are covered under HIPAA privacy laws. Donors are not paid to donate their kidney but they are not charged either for their evaluation, surgery or care.

To learn more about Kathy's kidney journey click here