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Kidney for Kabir

A personal campaign by Catalina Di Somma

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         The Love of My Life Needs a Kidney!

           Kabir | 24 | Stage 5 Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS)

                 Blood Types O+, O-, B+, B- can donate a kidney to Kabir! 

Click HERE to visit the Kidney for Kabir Instagram page!

Hi, I'm Catalina! I never, ever imagined that a handsome, witty Punjabi man would steal my heart in the golden state of California. But it totally happened! I am a firm believer that everything ... let me repeat that ... e v e r y t h i n g happens for a reason. After all, only the universe is capable of introducing a woman from Toronto, Canada and a man from Punjab, India in a small California city. What are the odds, right?!

The love of my life, Kabir (kuh-beeR), was diagnosed with stage 5 kidney disease in October 2017. The day before he was diagnosed, Kabir and I were lifted weights at the gym. We made plans to hike a trail in Yosemite and be adventurous together. He appeared strong, healthy, and confident. I had no idea that our lives would change forever just 24 hours later. 

Kabir reported feeling ill. I noticed a slight change in his energy. He appeared tired, lethargic. His blood pressure was high and he complained of blurry vision. There were also a few incidences of a bloody nose. At that point, we decided Kabir should see a doctor. I remember staff at a local clinic saying, "Your blood pressure is dangerously high - what's going on," and expressing severe concern of Kabir's symptoms because he is young. The clinic completed blood work and contacted Kabir immediately. "Get to an emergency room. NOW!" 

Doctors informed Kabir that both of his kidneys failed due to a rare form of chronic kidney disease. The disease, FSGS, creates scar tissues on the kidneys that result in a build up of toxins in the body. This means that the kidneys are unable to function properly and release dangerous toxins through urine. "Your kidneys are functioning at 5% - you would have been dead by next week," said the nephrologist. These words still echo in me. It was hard to hear at the time. It is still hard to accept. But I know the alternative is sheer unbearable heartbreak.  developed a new appreciation for Kabir's diagnosis because there is still a flicker of hope that he can receive a kidney transplant. It is tough news but at least he is still alive. At least Kabir still has a chance. 

Kabir studied computed applications in college in India. He participated in AEISEC, an international non-profit organization that teaches leadership and cultural diversity to youth. Kabir completed internships in Sumara, Russia and Mexico City, Mexico. He is passionate about family, culture, art, and social justice. Kabir volunteered to support the Sikh community by setting up blood drives and participating in an array of events for the less fortunate. Kabir continues to volunteer at local non-profit agencies such as the Child Abuse Prevention Council though he battles a life-threatening illness. 

Kabir spends 12.5 hours every day connected to a machine to complete dialysis treatment. The machine completes the work that his body can no longer complete. Fluids fill his stomach, rest for 2 hours, and drain toxins. This cycle is completed 6 times each night. While this treatment is not a cure for kidney disease it serves as temporary treatment while Kabir waits for a life-saving kidney transplant. 

Kabir is currently on an organ donor wait-list. Unfortunately, due to his rare blood type (B-), Kabir can expect to wait 6 to 10 years before receiving a transplant. Due to Kabir's decreasing health, we cannot assume that his body is strong enough to survive 6 to 10 years on dialysis treatment. Approximately 13 people die each day in the United States while waiting for a kidney. (source: nationalkidneyfoundation.org) Doctors encourage Kabir and I to be proactive in seeking a living kidney donor. They encourage social outreach, social media campaigns, custom t-shirts, and believe it or not, trips to Disneyland. We accept full responsibility! 

In August 2018, about a year after Kabir's diagnosis, the initial shock of doctor's appointments, dialysis treatment, and a tower of medications became the norm. I finally adjusted to the circumstances and decided to take a positive initiative in this unfortunate situation. I created Kidney for Kabir, a campaign to educate others about kidney disease awareness and living organ donation. The ultimate goal, of course, is to help Kabir find a living kidney donor!

Kidney for Kabir is just one example of our efforts to save Kabir's life. Over the last year, Kabir and I plastered our vehicle (it's literally a mobile billboard), spoke to audiences at fundraising events, hosted a raffle fundraiser, and yes, we even made it to Disneyland! While these platforms help to increase awareness of kidney disease, living organ donation, and Kabir's ongoing battle, a living kidney donor has not come forward. 

Kabir is unable to work due to his demanding schedule of dialysis treatment and weekly medical check-ins. As stated, half of his day is spent connected to a dialysis machine. He is eager to be employed but no employer is willing to accommodate his schedule. Kidney disease is a devastating diagnosis that is accompanied by hopelessness, fatigue, and financial burden. I am a college graduate and work full-time but struggle to stretch my income to compensate for our unfortunate circumstances.

Your donation will help Kabir and I in many ways. The funds will assist the Kidney for Kabir campaign so we can continue to complete outreach (maybe even get a commercial made - that's our goal) to find Kabir's living kidney donor! Funds raised will also go towards the cost to commute to hospitals, specialists offices, and medical appointments in a state with some of the highest gas prices in the nation. 

Your donation, regardless of the amount, helps Kabir become one step closer to a new chance at life. It will also help raise vital awareness to people at-risk for kidney disease. Prevention is incredibly important and kidney disease is a silent killer. We strive to increase knowledge not only of organ donation, but of signs and symptoms of kidney failure, too. 

Every donation is meaningful to Kabir and I as we work together to survive this unfortunate chapter in our lives. We look forward to the next chapter of our lives together: travelling, marriage, and a family. But this is merely a wish until Kabir's health is restored.

 Your support helps us be hopeful - not fearful - for the future. We want nothing more than the opportunity to begin our next chapter together and sincerely appreciate everyone that is active in our journey. 

I am so grateful for your support and consideration to help fight kidney disease.

Thank you!

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