Kevin’s condition just wasn’t an issue for his brother, Scott Moore, growing up.
“I was so young when Kevin got sick,” says Scott of his older brother. “It was never an issue until he took his shirt off.”
A bad tattoo? Hardly.
Kevin had experienced catastrophic kidney failure as a child, and their mother donated one of her kidneys, leaving both mother and Kevin with huge navel-to-small-of-back scars. Scott didn’t give it that much thought; it was just part of who Kevin was.
Meanwhile, Scott went his own way. He dropped out of high school, earned a GED and joined the Nixa, Mo., fire department as a volunteer. He was hired full-time in 2005 and has since worked his way up to captain.
Then came the call.
Kevin, now a Kansas City metro area computer programmer, felt awful. A transplanted kidney lasts 15-20 years; Kevin’s had lasted 28 years. But now it was at about 40 percent capacity and he had started dialysis. Without a new kidney, he would die.
Scott didn’t hesitate. He was used to going far beyond the extra mile for his firemen brothers. Of course he would donate a kidney for his biological brother. (Even if watching a Youtube video of a kidney transplantation made Scott woozy.)
Scott had his kidney removed laparoscopically, a far less invasive procedure that left him with a four-inch scar and four small incisions he calls “bullet holes.” He spent six days in the hospital and six weeks away from work recuperating, but only had to take a few hours of sick time. His firehouse brothers donated sick time and worked extra shifts to cover his.
Today, Scott can’t drink to excess and has to watch what he eats. He is about to complete an associate degree in fire service administration with Columbia College–Christian County and says he wants to go on to at least a bachelor’s degree with Columbia College, probably in human services or a related field.
As for Kevin, Scott says he is doing great. “His creatine levels are better than mine,” says Scott. “I joke that I gave him the wrong one.”
Scott says that America’s organ donor laws are not doing fine.
Nearly 106,000 people in the U.S. are currently waiting for organs, according to the Missouri Organ Donor Registry. Missouri, and every state in the union, has what’s called informed consent laws; you have to sign up to be an organ donor. Many Europeans and even some Muslim countries have presumed consent, where a deceased individual is presumed to be a donor unless otherwise noted.
“The body can survive just fine with one kidney,” Scott says. “When you donate a kidney, or are reduced to one, the remaining kidney grows one and one-half in size to compensate.”
And according to Donate Life, a worldwide donation advocacy group, one donor has the potential to save up to eight lives and improve 50 lives.
To learn more about how you can become an organ donor, visit the Missouri Organ Donor Registry at https://www.missouriorgandonor.com/odpublicsite/Default.aspx or the Midwest Transplant Network at www.mwtn.org. The network acts as regional coordinators matching donors with recipients all over the country.