TOWANDA, Pa. (18 NEWS) - In 2013, otherwise healthy 34-year-old Kelly McNally began feeling tired and short of breath. After a series of tests, doctors found Kelly had kidney disease.
"It was pretty crazy to know that you can go from thinking you're OK to needing an organ," Kelly said.
Now diagnosed as stage five, even a common cold can put this busy mother of 6 in the hospital for weeks at a time.
"It's frustrating because I don't want to miss out...here's when I get emotional...I just want to be there for them, that's the hard part, but they're helpful all of them they're all really knowledgeable about the whole situation they kind of hang out with me while I do dialysis and they know more than they should have to about it but they're all really supportive," Kelly said.
With no explanation as to what caused Kelly's kidney disease, all doctors can tell her is that she'll eventually need to have a kidney transplant. For that, she'll be put on a list of hundreds of thousands of people waiting for the exact same thing. In the meantime, she continues to undergo treatment that does the work her failing kidneys no longer can, filtering the toxins out of her blood.
"There's a lot involved as far as the whole dialysis process so that kind of wears on me because it's frustrating to not only have to be stuck in my room but it's a timely process," Kelly said.
Dialysis can also be hard on the body, putting stress on other organs. Doctors say in a best case scenario, a person can stay on it for maybe 30 years. With 2 years already under her belt, and so much to live for, the clock is ticking for Kelly to find a kidney but doctors say it won't be easy. Compatibility tests show disappointing results:
"He said it's a one in a million shot for me to find a kidney. That same doctor told me that if I want to find a kidney I would have to do a lot of the work myself. He said that you're going to have to reach out and you're going to have to ask and I said it kind of seems weird, or feels strange to ask for something so huge but when I look at it in other ways, I want to be there for my kids...so I'm not only asking for me but for our whole family," Kelly said.
After hearing the news Kelly's friends and family went above and beyond to get her story out there.
"I felt like people need to know her story because that's the only way that we're going to find that one in 1 million chance that needle in the haystack," Kelly's friend Tracy Miller said.
And when the "Kidney for Kelly" social media campaign was born, the response was overwhelming.
"I have messages everyday from people from all over who just want to help. It's very humbling, it's nice to know that there really are good people out there," Kelly said.
Hundreds of people have been tested, but still no match. Members of Kelly's family desperately hoping they can be the one in a million chance to save her life.
"I wanna be the one that gives you the kidney and it's going to upset me if it's not me but I just want someone to be out there that can give you one," Kelly's daughter Rachael said.
To help spread Kelly's story, you can like and share her Facebook by clicking here.
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