Santa Clarita Man Getting Second Chance Thanks To Organ Donation

KHTS AM1220 | Kimberly Beers
Debi Rodriguez and James Zimmerman.

James Zimmerman, a long time Santa Clarita resident with polycystic kidney disease, thought he had run out of options and prepared himself and his family for his life on dialysis until a friend decided to give him a second chance at life by donating one of her kidneys. ran a story about James, his disease, and his immediate need for a kidney in February.

“We were hoping to get a donor to keep him off of dialysis,” said Vicci Zimmerman, James’ wife. “Your chances of not rejecting a kidney, of not having complications, and doing better with immunosuppressant drugs post surgery are greatly improved if you don’t go onto dialysis first.”

Polycystic kidney disease, or PKD, affects about 600,000 people in the United States today. PKD produces large cysts on the kidneys that are filled with toxic fluid and make it impossible for the kidneys to drain and remove the excess. An average adult kidney is about the size of a clenched fist, but Zimmerman’s kidneys are much larger, estimated to weigh about 22 pounds each.

“His kidneys are unable to process out the toxins from his blood,” Vicci Zimmerman said. “His quality of life at this point is not very good.”

James was diagnosed when he was 20 years old, and he lived with the disease for over 30 years, not needing a kidney transplant until now due to his healthy lifestyle. Continue reading
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