Source: Sherman Publications

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Family walks to help friend with failing kidney

by Trevor Keiser

May 11, 2011

When Holly and Alan Baugh of Waterford heard their friend Mike McKay was in need of kidney transplant, they decided to step in and raise awareness.

Holly, who was born and raised in Clarkston, Alan, and their two children Katie and Aiden are doing a walk at the Detroit Zoo, put on by the National Kidney Foundation on May 15.

"We just wanted our kids to be compassionate to others, so we just thought it would be a good thing," Holly said. "We may not be able to make him (Mike) better, but there are ways that maybe we can help and support him."

"We appreciate it and are touched by it," said Mike's wife Amie. "We're hoping to use every avenue we can to get donors."

McKay, 33, who lives in Lake Orion with Amie and their daughter Soraya, has been struggling with kidney disease since age 21.

"My native ones just shut down pretty much out of the blue and they still don't' know to this day why," he said.

A year and half after starting dialysis his mom donated a kidney, but after six years it failed, which McKay said was his own fault.

"I honestly didn't take care of it. I was very erratic about medications, I didn't keep up with my clinical appointments and they tell me had I done that I would have still had it up to this day," he said. "Doctors said it should have lasted 25 years."

It's been four and half years since McKay was placed on the organ-donation list, and has finally reached the point, where he needs a kidney. He has dialysis three days a week, four hours at a time. Because of so much dialysis, he has neuropathy and has to use a walker to get around and wears a brace on his left arm.

Mike and Amie travel to Maryland every two to three months in order for Mike to have surgery on one of his hands or legs to try and repair the damage.

"Hopefully through this corrective surgery he'll be able to walk and have movement again," Holly said. "At least until he gets a kidney, once he gets a kidney all of that will go away and he won't have that problem anymore."

It wasn't until after a doctor's order that Mike began to make his need for a kidney known.

"I don't want to burden people, make them upset or put that kind of pressure on someone," he said. "Doctors told me to do it, so I'm doing it."

Doctors also said a living donor is the best option because the kidney lasts longer.

The hardest thing through it all has been when 6-year-old daughter Soraya wants to play and Mike is too tired he can't.

"I'm hanging in there. I trust God and know he is going meet my need," he said. "Even though this (kidney failure, dialysis, and surgeries) is not wonderful, the things I've gone through and the things I've learned, the things that have even come out of it have been so huge for me. I understand this is necessary for me right now."

As a result of what he calls his trial, Mike says his marriage has strengthened and he has grown spiritually in his Christian faith. He is currently taking classes in order to get his Divinity Degree and hopes to get a master's in theology, so he can serve the Lord full-time.

"Ministry, the Bible, and evangelism are my passion," Mike said. "When I'm done with this trial, hopefully the Lord will trust me with the ministry, that's what I'm waiting for."

For more information checkout YouTube.com and type "Mike's Journey and God's grace" into the search box. Also, to become a possible donor, call Chad Abbot, transplant coordinator at University of Michigan Hospital, 734-763-4228 or email him at cjabbott@med.umich.edu for an initial interview.