My fellow POV readers. Here is a direct request from our fellow Pitt fan Eric Wassel. He needs a new kidney, it is as simple as that.  Please read his letter to you below closely and think about trying to help. I’ve included some thoughts of my own as a postscript.

Dear Fellow POVerts:

I saw a story a few weeks ago about a gentleman who was a Penn State fan who was in need of a kidney transplant, and who went to Facebook to make a plea. He was a retired schoolteacher. One of his former students, an Ohio State fan, had herself tested and became his donor. It was/is a very nice story. Google it.

Hearing that story made me decide that its time for me to ask for help.

As some of you know, I am in need of a kidney transplant. And to be honest, I’d much rather have a kidney from a fellow Pitt fan/alum, than from a Nitter or Hoopie. (For that matter, I’d probably be best to avoid the kidneys of some of you guys given my observation of alcohol consumption at POV tailgates!).

All kidding aside, I’d be grateful for anyone who is willing to help, and would be especially appreciative of any PSU or WVU fans.

So I’m going all in, and putting out the word to my fellow POVerts:

I need a kidney donor.

Unfortunately, I have exhausted all avenues with my family and friends, many of whom have been willing to donate. Unfortunately, none of them are my blood type (O), or otherwise have been rejected as donors by the University of Pennsylvania for some other legitimate medical reason. (Side note: Wanted to have the surgery at UPMC, but due to my Highmark insurance, I was turned away. Ridiculous).

I just completed some additional medical testing this week, and expect to be approved for surgery any day now. But in absence of a donor, I’m stuck in neutral. Maybe my donor is out there in the Pitt community somewhere.

My email is eric.wassel@gmail.com should you wish to contact me.

Thank you all in advance for your consideration, and for the kind words that many of you have expressed to me to date.

HAIL TO PITT!!!

Eric (a.k.a. MissingWlat)

P/S: Reed here…I’ve shared on here my own experience of (almost) being a kidney donor to my next door neighbor.  Sam, my neighbor, was 75 years old, African-American and in desperate need of a kidney transplant. I had known he was ill but not the extent of it.

When I asked his wife what was happening  she told me about Sam’s transplant need and I asked how I could help.  Well, she whipped out some papers and asked if I would test for donorship, so I did that afternoon.

To my thinking I was about as far as possible removed from the donor pool for Sam due to our many differences but, just like as has happened with Eric above, all his relatives and friends who had tested for Sam came back negative…except for the ultimate long shot…me.

I was 100% compatible!

Shocked, but very happy, discussed it with my family, they were all in, and then agreed to go through all the additional tests and then donate my kidney.

Honestly all that was amazingly very easy to do, up to a point. A week from the scheduled surgery date the doctors re-did one single test based on how large I am (6’6″ & 250) and it showed a miniscule bit of plaque which disqualified me immediately and at almost literally the last-minute.

I offered to waive any and all liabilities so that we could go on with the surgery but we couldn’t. Of course I had been smoking for 30+ years and drank a ton also…and even with that I almost  made it…and you all are probably in much better shape than I was three years ago.

So – my point with this is to tell you that I was rather shocked at how easy and non-stressful the whole process was for me as the prospective donor. I read all I could, talked with other donors and was completely fine, emotionally and mentally, with giving a kidney – because we truly do only need one to function as if we had two. In reality we carry a spare kidney with us.

With that I urge each and everyone to read the letter from Eric again and think long and hard about helping a fellow human in the most profound way.

Here is a great website that UPMC did that lays everything out…

UPMC KIDNEY TRANSPLANTS

Thanks so much and if you have any questions at all about donorship please drop me an email with your phone number and I’ll tell you all I know. If you qualify and have worries I’ll drive to wherever you live to talk to you in person if you need – it is truly that important.

I had many friends ask me why I would do this for someone who wasn’t a family member and I told everyone who asked that the same thing…because it is our highest calling in life to save another’s.  And that is what you will be doing.

I believe in the good of humanity and think all of you do also. We care and we act and we try our best to help others, even if we don’t know them that well.

BTW after Sam and I did all the testing the doctors determined he was healthy enough to be placed on the transplant waiting list. Sam got his new kidney nine months later and is doing great!

Best,   Reed Kohberger

rkohberger@gmail.com

49 thoughts on “A Plea for Help to the POV Community….

  1. Eric and Reed, good gosh. I’m so happy you both put this out there. You all know I wear my heart on my sleeve and it brings many tears to my eyes that I cannot be of any help. Please let me know if there is something else I could do to help you my friend. I’m not big on religion but I do believe in God. I’ll continue to pray for you Eric from Latrobe. Hang in there friend, God will bless you. ike

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    1. I’m already blessed, Ike. If I left this world tomorrow (I’m not going anywhere yet), I would consider myself to have lived a very full life, even at age 48. My cup runs full with great family and friends. Thank you my good friend from Latrobe.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, at Penn Medicine, that is a requirement. A few hospitals nationally do not require a blood type match. But a good friend who is a hematologist, and who is on the transplant team at UPMC, does not recommend it.

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  2. I would be glad to do this without a second thought…but I have already promised mine, if needed, to my high school age niece who has a rare kidney condition since she was 8…75% chance she will need it in the next 5-10 years, and right now I am a viable match for her. Also, not (O). 😦

    But if you need anything else, give a shout out. My agnostic prayers are with you brother.

    H2P

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      1. Thanks for the blessing. She’s great right now,all nornmal except for certain minor dietary restrictions; cheerleading and looking forward to college…her condition won’t really affect her until her mid 20’s, we hope.

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  3. Eric, I am deeply saddened that I can only offer prayers and support. I am on a medication that doesn’t even allow me to donate blood.

    Is there a way to help you financially? A funding page perhaps. I will gladly contribute.

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    1. Fran: I have excellent insurance, thanks to my wife. But thank you for the kind gesture. I should note for any potential donors out there, that my insurance covers the costs for the donor also.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Eric, would love to be able to give you my 67 year old kidney. My Dad a GrandDad both developed kidney disease as as they aged into their 70’s due to medical problems and I have inherited their medical problems…I too will contribute financially and will be talking to you. Email me your phone number and address.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I join my fellow Panthers in praying for your successful outcome. I am type O but unfortunately my medication list would disqualify me from giving you a kidney. The procedure is very costly and I believe that many of us who are able will contribute to funding your procedure.

    Also, I am very upset that UPMC would not accept Highmark. I am a Pitt graduate and a Penn alum (Annenberg) shame on UPMC!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, the war between UPMC and HighMark at the expense of their patients is nothing less than an act of money grabbing. I had close to 3/4 of my right kidney removed with another tumor still growing on my left kidney. I would highly recommend Dr Davies from UPMC Shadyside but you just can’t go there. That’s just terrible…

    Eric, will you be coming home for the VT game? . . . . ike

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  7. Regarding Eric’s UPMC rejection (total corporate greed BS) of his BCBS,.. I have one comment to make …I want UPMC to change their name and take our great university’s name out of it…they are not a part of PITT… if you peel off the layers they are a money grubbing medical corporation who will stop at nothing to dominate the market. Eric, you are another example of why we need real healthcare reform. UPMC, I am talking to you ” lower our health care costs instead of promoting their bottom line by your use of OUR healthcare dollars for your advertising purposes”.Too many organizations need the incestuous relationship with UPMC…gosh, I used to enjoy beers where over-paid CEO Jeffrey Romoff sits…Thanks for letting me get that off my chest…I need to up my BP meds..

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Eric, I would love to help, but I need to keep my spare kidney for my son in the event he needs it. He was born with only 1 kidney, so if he needs a new one I can provide it. My prayers are that you can find a match soon.

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  9. Eric, I’m hoping like heck PITT gets the win down south this Friday. It would make for a great match-up with VT. Maybe we can get all the the POVer’s to Fran’s tailgate and raise the flag for 100% attendance!

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  10. Eric – I just got a physical. Let me see if I’m O blood type. I remember my Mom saying O Negative back in the day!

    By the way he thinks I have Shingles. Intense pain in the skin on my left rib cage area but no spots or blemishes. Pills they gave are like Horse Pills. Valtrex or something. This pain sucks. Let you know when they call with my results.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mark: Your willingness to look into it is amazing. Many many thanks.

      Take care of those shingles. I have had several family members who had to endure that pain.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Mark, take those antiviral meds! They will shorten your Shingles illness and reduce the pain considerably! Prayers for a donor for you Eric!

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  11. LOL Mark, yeah, half of Eric will certainly become more negative for sure. I’m also O negative and our blood is suitable for most people. We just have to receive the same blood type in return. Hope you can help Eric out… you’ll move up a notch or two in my mind if you can. 🙂 .BTW, I’d be willing to donate blood for the cause…..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I forget what blood type I am, I’ll have to check. Mine are well pickled so they should last forever, right? 😀 in all seriousness I will check, for some reason I am thinking I am one of the rarer blood types. Of course I have no idea which are rare, I just remember my mom saying that at some point.

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  13. Eric – unfortunately, I am not a match, but I am able to offer up countless prayers for you, your family and the eventual donor.

    Keep fighting the good fight!

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  14. Dear Erik (Missingwlat),
    Sincerely praying for you and your family!!! I’m confident our gracious and loving God will work greatly through this current crisis in your life. Eight years ago it was discovered that I had large cysts in both kidneys, with one diseased with stage 4 renal cell carcinoma. The doctors at M.D. Anderson decided to save as much of the cancerous kidney as possible (not much) because they believed the other cyst would also soon contain renal cell carcinoma.
    I’m thankful I am still free of kidney cancer to this day and continue to trust daily in Him. Thus, stay encouraged, remain strong, and continue loving your family and your God during this time and we will fervently continue to pray for you!
    Because He Cares (John 3:16)
    Jim (Pittman4ever)

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Eric – Here in Richmond, we have an organization called UNOS – United Network for Organ Sharing. It’s a clearinghouse to match donors and those with need.

    If not, check this site out:

    http://www.unos.org

    I will keep you in my prayers and hope your are answered.

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  16. Eric – not sure what is going on generally with the POVerts and their kidneys, but it seems we have a lot of folks on here with kidney issues, including me! Maybe it was something in the water in the burgh growing up. You are on the family prayer list twice a week brother and will keep lifting you and your family up mentally, physically and spiritually as you matriculate through this process.

    Thoughts and prayers brother, huff

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