HOUSTON - A Houston family opened up about the struggles to find a kidney donor after being diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.
"It’s embarrassing to even ask for help. It’s very difficult, it’s easier to ask for money than for something that can save your life, you know," said Erik Stolarzewicz.
Erik Stolarzewicz was diagnosed with Immunoglobulin (IgA) nephropathy, which is an autoimmune disease that over time results in the body attacking and destroying your kidneys, and you are no longer able to filter waste/toxins from the blood.
The father of two and his wife spoke with FOX 26 to bring attention to organ donation and to hopefully take away some stigma surrounding it. A big step for Erik, he tells us.
"Kidney donation awareness is something scary, but with the advancement in technology people shouldn’t worry, and really you can make a difference in somebody’s life," said Erik.
He was diagnosed about four years ago and his condition just got worse.
"In short, he is dying from kidney failure and only surviving due to dialysis right now," said Kasia, Erik’s wife.
Erik’s kidneys are now functioning at three to five percent, which requires him to be on dialysis for several hours daily.
"I’m right now listed at Houston Methodist, my blood type is ‘A’, and they tell me with my blood type, my wait is three to four years," said Erik. "I'm hopeful I will get a donor, I’m hoping this dialysis will last me enough to get a donor. I’ve heard of many people not surviving long enough."
The national donor list at any given time has about 100,000 people on it patiently waiting. Erik and his family now hoping for a live donor. His goal is, at least, to see his two young children finish school.
"That is the best option, getting a live donor would extend my life for a good 15 to 20 years is what they say," said Erik. "I’ve got two young children who really count on me, I want to be able to see them at least finish school."
The family is currently looking for potential matches. If you're interested, click here.