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Kidney in hand, family now needs cash

Family raising money for kidney transplant after father a donor match for his son


Tabitha Greller of Newberg has been amazed at the response and support from people who don’t know her brother.

“Some of my friends who have never even met my family, but have been willing to donate to this cause because it’s so important to me. I’ve been overjoyed at the response,” Greller said. “I didn’t even expect (it).”by: SUBMITTED - Gift of life - Jacob Dawson (center) will receive a kidney from his father (right) Aug. 18 while his mother stays in Portland to take care of him.

Last May, her brother Jacob Dawson was diagnosed with end stage renal disease, caused by a birth defect in his kidneys.

“He just seemed to be this perfectly healthy mid-20s guy, single, and then he wasn’t feeling good,” she said. “He never goes to the (doctor), but then he went to the hospital so we thought he really must be sick.”

Living in Prineville, the doctors weren’t sure what was wrong, so they sent him to Bend.

“They realized, ‘You have one kidney. It’s a horseshoe kidney,”’ Greller said. A horseshoe kidney occurs when the kidneys fuse together in the womb. “He had like 2 percent function so they admitted him right away. The doctor told him later he was days away, everything was running so high he would’ve died right then.”

At 29, she said it was really unexpected, but they had to cope quickly.

“It was a fast learning curve for him because a lot of people who go into kidney failure, it’s a gradual thing. They can plan for what’s going to be happening,” Greller said. “It’s been a really tough year figuring out what’s going on.”

Finally, after fighting off a couple of infections, Dawson was able to apply for the transplant list.

“When approved for the list people could start doing testing to be live donors instead of just waiting for something to happen,” she said. “My dad was up first and he passed all the tests.”

Luckily, they found a match on the first try and a transplant is scheduled Aug. 18 in Portland.

“I think it’s coming into reality. This surgery is going to happen,” she said. “Now we’re just raising money.”

The family has to stay in Portland for the surgery and to recover. Greller said she offered her Newberg home, but the commute is too far for the amount of testing that needs to be done, and too far from the hospital. So they have to rent an apartment for 12 weeks.

“It all starts adding up,” she said. To try and eliminate some financial burden, Greller started a GoFundMe account to pay for related expenses.

“We’ve figured out this is where they need to be, how much money we need, now the hard part starts,” she said. “I just don’t want my parents to have to go into debt over this.”

As of Monday, they had raised $3,875 of the $16,000 goal.

“I’m just so happy that he ended up getting a live donor,” Greller said. “It’s a better chance of success and that my dad’s doing it, it’s so amazing to me.”

To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/aas4r0. There is also a Wells Fargo account set up under Dawson’s name.



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  • 21 Oct 2014

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