Grandville man living with 1 kidney needs transplant

KENT COUNTY, Mich. --   A man in Grandville is hoping to find a kidney donor, after learning his one kidney is functioning at just 17 percent.

43-year-old Steve Wierengo was born with only one kidney and has been diagnosed with stage 4 chronic kidney disease. He said he only has a few years before his kidney completely fails.

“Not being around for them basically," said Wierengo. "That’s what scares me the most.”

Wierengo said he can't imagine leaving behind his wife Stacy and their year and half old son Blake due to his failing kidney.

"You go to bed at night wondering," said Wierengo. "If somebody is out there being tested or will it work out or the fears will that kidney stay functioning? There’s a slight chance it won’t work and that person just gave up that gift to you.”

Wierengo said some people call it the invisible disease because you don't see it coming. "I don’t feel it, which is the weird part about it all too."

Though he was born with just one kidney, he didn't find out until 17 years ago.

“In 2001, through a random drug screen for a job, it came back with too much protein in the urine, and through medical tests and scans, it figured out I only had one kidney," said Wierengo.

Wierengo has been able to keep his kidney at a functioning level over the years through diet and exercise, but he said that doesn't change the fact he still needs a healthy kidney.

His wife, Stacy, is currently in the process of finding out if she's a match. Wierengo said what donors should know is that if someone was to donate a kidney, his insurance covers the donors medical costs.

“If you haven’t really ever thought about donating to save a life, please," said Wierengo.

There are more than 100,000 people across the nation on a waiting list for a kidney transplant. In Michigan, there's over 2,500 individuals waiting for a kidney transplant.

If you'd like to follow Wierengo's medical journey, click here. People interested in making donations, visit his Help Hope Live page.

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