CHARLOTTE, NC — A former NASCAR pit crew member was at the peak of his career when he received a devastating diagnosis. Just as things were beginning to change, a tragic accident devastated him again.
Two years ago, Nick Deal was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. His wife and high school sweetheart Donna told Channel 9’s Susanna Black that she couldn’t sit back and watch her husband, who has always lived his life to the full, suffer. So she was tested to see if she could be a live donor. Turns out she was a perfect match.
“It was just a burden taken off my shoulders. I thought I was going to live,” Nick Deal told Channel 9’s Susanna Black.
The two were taken to surgery on February 9. Nick says he took Donna’s kidney immediately.
“My hands didn’t hurt. My feet didn’t hurt. I regained some energy. It was like a whole new body,” Nick Deal said.
The Deals thought it was the start of a new beginning.
Donna was discharged a few days after the transplant. Nick was to meet her at home on Valentine’s Day. He joked with his nurses that his Valentine gave him a kidney so he could live again.
Nick’s niece was driving him home from the hospital when they were involved in a serious accident on Interstate 85.
Nick was airlifted to hospital where two teams of surgeons were waiting to try and save his new organ.
Donna says the hours that followed were among the most difficult of her life.
“Knowing that when he woke up, it would probably be me telling him that the kidney didn’t survive, that there was nothing else to do,” she said. “Now I have a kidney, and I can’t help it anymore.”
Nick is recovering at home, but his kidney is only about 8% functioning.
“Depression is worse than ever in my life. There is nothing to be happy about anymore,” he said.
His only hope now is to find another living donor. Donna thinks the right person will hear their story and help her husband.
“We have a lot of people praying for us. I believe in miracles,” she said.
According to Donna, a living kidney donor must be at least 25 years old and in good health. She said the whole process for the donor is completely free.
If you would like to help with the offerings, call the Atrium Donor Office at 704-355-3602.
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