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Cody Man In Need Of A Kidney

Kimball Croft

Kimball Croft is comfortable as he shows off the vein that trails under his forearm, called a fistula, all the way up into his bicep. He’s not embarrassed, he wants people to know why it is there and what it does, but he’s tired from his three-time-a-week dialysis treatment.

According to the National Kidney Center, “dialysis is a type of treatment that helps your body remove extra fluid and waste products from your blood when the kidneys are not able to.” Dialysis was first used successfully in the 1940’s and became a standard treatment for kidney failure starting in the 1970s. Since then, millions of patients have been helped by these treatments.

When Kimball goes into the Cathcart Building in Cody, a dialysis nurse inserts a 15-gauge needle (which is one of the larger needles used on a human body) into his vein to allow the life-saving process of letting a machine filter his blood. “Go ahead, touch it,” he implores, wanting the person who is looking wide-eyed at the artery that bulges under the skin like a thick, two-foot straw. The fistula is about the size of bite-size snickers bar. And it pulsates along with his heartbeat.

Croft has been diagnosed with end-stage renal failure, describing why he needs dialysis in simple, matter-of-fact terms.

He takes a breath and then, almost nonchalantly, says he needs a new kidney. Now.

Christmas morning, 2022, was the morning he knew something was wrong.  He woke up and was having trouble breathing.  After checking his oxygen level in his bloodstream with an oximeter, and discovering it was at 86, his wife took him to a hospital in the town that they were vacationing in Utah.  Within 10 minutes, he was intubated, then transported to a larger hospital outside of Salt Lake City. Because of underlying medical conditions, his kidney was functioning at 25 percent. Having already lost a kidney to calcification years ago, Kimball knew his odds of surviving weren’t good.

But he decided on that day, Christmas morning, he was going to fight.  And not only was he going to stay optimistic, he would be a positive force of nature in getting the word out about kidney disease.

37 million Americans currently live with kidney disease — and there are millions who are undiagnosed.  Kidney disease is growing at an alarming rate, currently affecting more than one in seven adults.  Nine out of ten people who have kidney disease aren’t aware they are suffering from the disease.

Over 800,000 people in the United States are living with end-stage renal disease or ESRD.  500,000 people are on dialysis and 116,000 are on a waiting list for a transplant.

Since March of 22nd of this year, Croft has been trying to get on that list.  Last week, he received his in on the list. But he’s at the bottom.  There are over a 100,000 people ahead of him.  But he remains optimistic that someone, maybe here in Park County, maybe out of state, will be a match. But the odds aren’t good.

So he is getting the word out that he needs a kidney and hopefully, through sheer gumption and word-of-mouth, he will find someone who is willing to donate a life-saving kidney.

Five people have already gone through the process of trying to donate, but because of other medical issues, they were not suitable.

But Kimball remains optimistic saying he wants “to help develop hope, be an inspiration for people with kidney disease” to not give up.

One way he is staying positive is by giving back to others.  He has become “the Bread Guy,” making loaves of bread for anyone who needs it.  He reason for taking up the hobby is simple: “I just want to bring some happiness to people who don’t get recognized,” an help them through “trials they’re going through.” People contact him through the Cody Classifieds Facebook page.  He can make six to eight loaves on a Thursday and then drop them off anonymously.

“I want people to believe that if they don’t believe in themselves, I do.”

If you would like to find out more about Kimball Croft or find out about kidney donation, click here.

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