STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
Sunrise Beach Village resident Wyatt Larew must undergo a kidney transplant to save his life. The 36-year-old father of two has a donor and a hospital date for the surgery. What he needs now is help paying the $20,000 bill.
Soon after he turned 30, Larew began noticing a change of color in his urine and went for medical tests.
“I was peeing the color of a Coke can,” he said.
After undergoing a kidney biopsy, he received the news that changed his life. He was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy, or Berger’s disease, which causes kidney failure. The disease results when the antibody immunoglobulin A (IgA) lodges in the kidneys.
The diagnosis was a shock, especially since Larew didn’t have a family history of kidney disease.
The news isn’t all bad. Recently, Larew learned that Mandy Gilstrap of Llano is a perfect match and has agreed to donate one of her kidneys. To make the transplant possible, Larew needs to raise enough money to cover his costs.
Anyone wanting to make a donation to Larew can do so at transplants.org through the National Foundation for Transplants. Larew chose the nonprofit because it takes only 3 percent for administration fees. Other groups take more, he said.
The surgical procedure is scheduled for June 26 at Baylor Scott and White in Temple. Larew will be in the hospital for anywhere between one to two weeks then another two weeks in a nearby hotel room for necessary daily checkups.
“I’m in complete compliance,” he said. “I have blood tests weekly to make sure I’m a good candidate. (The medical community) is very thorough about this stuff. I’m in excellent health other than Stage 5 renal failure.”
After learning of his diagnosis, Larew changed his diet to include mostly organic foods, which he believes bought him the past five years of his life.
“I quit eating preservative foods, foods in a box, or foods in a can,” he said. “Everything changed, and I got better. I was in remission for five years. Within six months, it hit me hard.”
That’s how he sums up this year. He has been on three different types of dialysis and had to be his own nurse so he could have a dialysis machine at his house. Currently, he undergoes in-center hemodialysis, which is the most taxing on the body. He goes to a dialysis center three times a week to have his blood filtered of impurities. As his condition worsened, he made the decision to move in with his mother, Linda Thompson, in Austin.
Larew has lost some eyesight over the past six years and must wear glasses to drive a vehicle. He has had six surgeries in 18 months.
He has not lost his optimism, however.
“It hasn’t beaten me at all,” he said.
Larew has big plans for his life after surgery. He plans to spend a lot of time with his children, Evan and Abigail, and go back to doing the activities he loves. He also wants to follow in his family’s footsteps and return to college to become an attorney.
“I want to finish school and help people who have gone through this and had issues,” he said.
He said he simply wants a chance to watch his children grow up, help his mother and other family members and friends, and give back to the community.
First up on the agenda once he gets a clean bill of health, which should happen about 30 days after the procedure, is to go swimming.
“I’m going on the lake and enjoy time with my kids,” he said.