PLANO FAMILY HIT BY TWO TRAGEDIES IN WAIT FOR KIDNEY
by JONATHAN BETZ
PLANO - A family who once made a decision to donate the organs of a loved one are now waiting for an organ for his brother.
Three years ago, the Padden family suddenly lost their adult son, Kevin. The 42-year-old died suddenly in a freak accident after he fell in a Plano restaurant and hit his head.
“My brother passed away three years ago and we donated a couple of his organs,” said Chris Padden, Kevin's brother. “We donated his liver to a guy who had two days to live and it saved him.”
Now, 37-year-old Padden himself is in need of an organ transplant. Padden was born with a rare disease called Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis, which caused him to go blind at birth. Doctors told him in October the illness is now destroying his kidneys.
“I was in shock; it was too big to absorb,” he said. “It took me several months before it really hit me.”
Three days a week, he goes to the Fresenius Clinic in Plano for dialysis. The treatments keep him alive until he can get a transplant.
“We've been through that,” said Brian Padden, Chris' father. “We don't want to lose another son. So, it’s very important to us.”
More than 84,000 Americans are waiting for a kidney, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which oversees the nation’s transplant system.
No one in Padden’s family is a match, so they’re hopeful a friend may be able to donate.
"Now we're in a position where I need an organ and before we were in a position to give someone a second chance at life," Padden said.
Padden lost his job as a telemarketer shortly before his diagnosis.
His family has planned a fundraiser to raise money to help cover the medical bills while also encouraging others to consider organ donation.
“We never dreamed we would be on the other end of it and needing an organ,” said Marilyn Padden, Chris' mother. “So, we experienced both sides.”
The Chris Padden fundraiser will take place at 11 a.m. through 1:30 p.m. May 15 at the North Central Ford at 1819 N. Central Expressway in Richardson. There will be a bake sale, cookout and raffle.