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Wear The Gown: Teenager who received a kidney from a living donor tells her story

An organ from a living donor has many benefits over one from a deceased donor.

SAN ANTONIO — There is no bigger gift than giving a part of yourself while living, an organ, to save someone else's life. In tonight's Wear The Gown we are introduced to one young kidney recipient who found a kidney, after her town came together in a big way to help.

Gwyn DeLeon of Devine was just 15 when she went into kidney failure in 2022, from a condition called IgA neuropathy that may be genetic. DeLeon told us, "My blood pressure was just through the roof. It was just crazy. And I was just being so fatigued. It was hard for me to walk and it was kind of hard for me to breathe." 

At first they thought it was pneumonia, but that wasn't the case. DeLeon said, "We did the lab results that came back quickly and they said, Hey, it's your kidneys." Dr. Daniel Ranch, a Nephrologist with University Health added, "We know that getting a kidney transplant offers a much, much better long term outcome health wise compared to long term dialysis."  

Some of the symptoms of kidney disease include being tired, having less energy, and having trouble sleeping. Dry and itchy skin. the urine is foamy or contains blood. A person may have a poor appetite. And frequent muscle cramps. Dr. Ranch said, "A lot of kidney disease is silent until you know, when it's really bad, that's when you have symptoms. So you obviously don't want to wait that long." 

Right now there are over 121,000 people waiting for lifesaving organ transplants in the U.S. Out of those about 1 in 6 are waiting for a kidney. 

Gwyn and her mother Beverly used social media to help find her a living donor kidney. Beverly DeLeon, Gwyn's mother told us, "That first day I shared it, there was two people that told me they did it. And then when we found out that there was hundreds. Oh, my gosh. I cried and cried." 

There was even an article in the Devine News. And now, post-transplant, Deleon encourages anyone who can to become a living donor. She said, "It's the most unselfish thing that you can do. It's just hope someone else, even if you don't know them."  

For more about how you can become a living organ donor University Health has a wealth of information here.

If you would like to see more of our Wear The Gown stories just head to their website

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