Linda Nall had been fighting lupus since 1986; however, in 2001, it began attacking her kidneys. She was on a strict diet, required assistance getting out of her vehicle, and was in desperate need of a transplant.
Enter: her neighbor, Frank Dewhurst.
CNN reported that he had witnessed Nall’s struggles here and there; seen her social media posts, and signs in her car. Yet, it was one day while walking by her house that he noticed a sign on her lawn stating she was a typo O and in need of a kidney transplant; he was type O+. He decided to knock on her door and pay her visit that ended on a high note.
At the age of 84, Dewhurst is currently the oldest living American kidney donor, donating this organ to Nall.
When her paid her a visit that fateful day, Nall did not expect that he’d offer what he did; in fact, she thought, as Dewhurst was a part of the homeowners association in their community in Austin, Texas, and that he was going to ask her to take those yard signs down.
In the end, Dewhurst ended up being a perfect match.
Over 5,000 kidney donations occur annually, but a mere 200 over the past 24 years have come from individuals older than 70. This is because there are many factors that cause older adults from donating. Strict psychological and physical evaluation is one thing, while the healing process is another aspect to consider. Kidneys also decline with age, as a majority of adults lose approximately one percent of functionality every year after they hit 40.
Therefore, if an individual were to start with 100 percent functionality at the age of 40, by the time they hit around 80, that rate would fall to about 60 percent. Still, less that half of older adults don’t see a major decline in kidney functionality, and Dewhurst fell into this grouping. Kidney functionality decline becomes an issue when someone older donates the organ to someone quite younger; however, in this case, with Nall being 72 years of age, and Dewhurst 84, the matching was close to perfect.
Nall was on dialysis for a brief amount of time prior to Dewhurts’ donation. Had he not stepped in, the approximate survival rate she would’ve been looking at was five years, which also happens to be the same wait time, on average, for a kidney donation in Texas.
Nall feels like she’s been given the most generous gift and plans to live her life to the fullest moving forward. Dewhurst hopes that his story inspires others, at any age, to help out and donate their kidney if the opportunity arises.Advertisement