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U.S. reaches 1 millionth organ transplant, local man shares his journey

Evan Williams is grateful to be one of that million.
Posted at 7:19 PM, Sep 09, 2022

MILWAUKEE — The United States crossed a major milestone Friday, conducting its one millionth organ transplant.

Evan Williams is grateful to be one of that million. Last year he received a phone call that saved his life.

"All of a sudden I saw Froedtert calling and so I answered the phone and it was the transplant team saying, 'hey Evan we found a match for you,'" said Williams.

Williams was diagnosed with kidney disease, IgA nephropathy.

"My kidney function just kind of progressively went down," he said.

Evan and his wife were about to welcome their second child and time was ticking.

"I want to be there for my kids, they're my everything and so absolutely the fear of not being able to be there for them was my driving concern," he shared.

On Feb. 23, 2021, Evan received his kidney at Froedtert from a living donor and a month later his wife welcomed in their second child.

"In my situation, it was an altruistic living donor somebody I did not know came forward and just wanted to give back and help, which is just amazing," he said.

According to transplant experts at Froedtert, the main source of kidney transplants comes from deceased donors.

"There is a wait list that can go up to about five years plus or minus or even about 10 years in some parts of the country. There are a lot of patients that are waiting that may not even get a chance to get a kidney before they, unfortunately, pass away," said Dr. Motaz Selim, a transplant surgeon at Froedtert's Center for Advanced Care.

Like in William's case, a living donor was able to speed that process up. Doctors hope more people might consider donating in order to save more lives.

"Anyone who has basic decent health and has the motive to donate to try to save somebody's life should step up," said Dr. Selim.

To learn more about organ donations, visit Froedtert's website.

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