Live kidney donors are in high demand in Washington state

THE SPOKESMAN REVIEW | Pia Hallenberg
Shelby Whitson recieves dialysis at Fresenious Dialysis in Spokane Valley on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

Shelby Whitson needs a kidney. But so do more than 1,600 other people in Washington, and there’s never enough to go around. 

Whitson was diagnosed with hereditary kidney disease at 15. Now at 32 she jokes that her family has some kind of record of kidney disease treatment at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center: her grandfather died from kidney disease and her mother, an aunt and an uncle all have it. 

“It’s on my mom’s side of the family,” Whitson said. “There was a 50-50 chance that I’d get it, but it usually doesn’t come out until later in life.”

The first sign that something was wrong were debilitating migraines. Whitson went to see a doctor who discovered her blood pressure was very high. 

“It was 200 over something. It was at stroke level,” Whitson said. 

More tests revealed what she and her family feared – there was something wrong with her kidneys. Continue reading

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