Local family battles kidney disease for three generations

Kidney transplant family

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Kevin Crittendon wanted to be able to donate a kidney to his second cousin, but doctors told him no. 

So, he got to work. Kevin changed his lifestyle and got his own health where it needed to be in order to become eligible to donate a kidney to his cousin, Travis Crittendon, 44, who suffers from hereditary Polycystic Kidney Disease.

The disease has been in their family for three generations now. It started with Travis' grandmother who received a transplant in 1991. Travis' mother got the disease from her mother, and then passed it onto her four children, but Travis is the first to really suffer from it. 

The disease can force those who suffer from it to have their kidneys removed and then go through dialysis until a kidney match is found for a transplant. 

Travis' mother Sharon did not get her transplant until 2014, so when she saw Travis begin to struggle she said it broke her heart. 

"I mean that's my child...I felt so bad."

Their whole family has been cared for by the Mercy Health Transplant Center. Travis' transplant surgery on July 17 marked the sixth transplant surgery the doctors at Mercy have performed for this family. 

To learn how you can become a kidney donor visit the Mercy Health website.

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