OCEAN CITY – A month before his son was to be born, Craig Lynch started thinking about the future. He decided life insurance would be a prudent step to ensure his family would be provided for if something happened to him.
He ran into an unexpected hurdle when he failed the physical. Doctors informed Lynch he had polycystic kidney disease.
In spite of the news, he wasn’t initially worried.
“A lot of people never even know they have it,” he said. “They felt I’d be fine for 20 to 30 years.”
Unfortunately, the disease — which causes fluid-filled growths to form on the kidneys — progressed faster than anyone anticipated. Lynch now needs a new kidney.
“They want to do this before dialysis,” he said. “They want to avoid that at all costs.”
As the hope of finding a suitable match from among his relatives dwindles, Lynch and his family have started sharing his story.
“Some of you may know my brother but have no idea about his diagnosis,” his sister, Amy Byrne, wrote in a letter to The Dispatch this week. “He does not share it with too many people. As his sister, I am asking you to please consider being a living organ donor.”
She was deemed an unsuitable match for her brother because of her blood type.
“I’m O-positive, the universal donor but I’m the worst recipient. I can only receive from O blood types,” Craig Lynch said.
Lynch says doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center are ready to take out his diseased kidneys — which now weigh more than 20 pounds — and replace them with a healthy kidney as soon as a donor is located. In the meantime, he’s staying busy with work at D3Corp and coaching youth baseball. While the disease isn’t keeping him from his daily activities, it weighs on his mind constantly.
“All I can think about is my kids,” he said.
Lynch has a 10-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter.
Finding himself in need of an organ has also alerted him to the importance of living donors. While many people identify themselves as organ donors on their driver’s licenses, Lynch says few are aware of the fact that there are opportunities to be donors while they are still alive. Because most humans have two kidneys, it is one of the few organs that can be transplanted from a living donor. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, kidneys from living donors last longer and are less likely to be rejected than kidneys from those who are deceased. Lynch says doctors have assured him that there are few health risks associated with becoming a living donor.
“They’ll take every precaution so that being a donor isn’t going to affect you later in life,” he said. “They make sure it’s going to be a success.”
Knowing what he knows now, Lynch says he wouldn’t hesitate to donate an organ if he was in the position to in the future. His sister, too, has become an advocate of the living donor program. She’s hoping someone else will see the value in it in time to help her brother.
“Why consider it? Simply to save a life,” Byrne said. “Being a donor is a selfless act.”
She said doctors at the University of Maryland have now asked Lynch to “exhaust all resources” in his search for a donor.
“On behalf of my brother and the rest of the Lynch family, thank you for considering this selfless donation,” she said.
Potential donors can contact Amy Lynch at firstname.lastname@example.org.