By: Renee Passal | WDIO
Jim Strom has three standing appointments a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at a dialysis center in Duluth. The 29-year-old is there for three and a half hours.
"It keeps me alive. But I'm pretty tired and sore afterwards,"he said. The dialysis machine is hooked up to his arm. It cleans the toxins out of his blood, since his own kidneys can't do that.
Jim has been on dialysis for over three years, after being diagnosed with renal failure. "There's no cure. But a new kidney would mean no more dialysis."
Over in the next chair, is Gena Drift. The 27-year-old has been doing dialysis on and off since 2004. She did receive a kidney from her aunt.
"I didn't know how sick I was until I got the transplant. It was like I got my life back," Drift said. But her body rejected the kidney after two years, and she's back on dialysis.
It was there, at dialysis, they discovered they were both students at Lake Superior College. In fact, they teamed up at a recent Earth Fair, to promote organ donation.
'So many people have offered to give their kidney, and then they back out. I just cry my eyes out when that happens,: Gena told us.
JIm's been through this before too. "I had a sister take 7 months to tell me no." He said he does understand her decision, and they are on good terms. She said she might be willing to donate later in her life.
They are both trying to stay positive. Jim was recently called to be a backup patient for a kidney donation. He said that means he's getting closer to the top of the list. They are both on the transplant list.
"It would be nice to be able to finish my education and move on with my life," he said.
Gena agrees. "It would be so wonderful to get a kidney."
"It's the gift of life," Jim added. Their story has inspired some fellow classmates to get involved.
Folks in LSC's nursing program are helping raise money for the upcoming kidney walk.
4th Annaul KIdney Walk, Saturday, May 21st
And to find out if are interestd in becoming a donor, you can check out:
Or call 1-888-4-DONATE