Get A Life, Give A Life - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Get A Life, Give A Life

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SALISBURY, Md. - It's been an ongoing battle for one Salisbury man, living with a disease that came with a ticking clock. However, a new found opportunity could be the key to stopping that clock.

"My dad is really brave for getting a kidney transplant," said Lilly Stevenson, Dan Stevenson's 7-year-old daughter.

It's a second chance at life. One that the 38-year-old father of four is embracing. He found out he had kidney disease in 2003, and was told by doctors at Johns Hopkins that he'd need a transplant in five years.

"That was 10 years ago and in my thinking I beat Hopkins for five years," said Dan.

That's the upside, but the downside is a side effect called gout, which is an excruciating buildup in the joints. Every three months for almost a decade, Dan went to Hopkins for blood work to monitor his kidneys.

"Two blood works ago it came back 16 percent function, and generally at 15 percent function, is when they talk about transplantation," he said.

However, with five siblings, finding a donor was likely. "There was no question for any of us. We found out and Dan never asked we all went and got tested," said Dan's sister, Jenny Palmer.

They called it the Kidney Survival Game and Dan's brother Tom won.

"Everybody says 'you can have mine, you can have mine.' It amazed me to look in someone's eyes and know they really mean it," said Dan.

Family and friends will join Dan in this weekend's Kidney Walk in Salisbury. Their name: "Team Get A Life" and the kids even made shirts to show their support.

"This is the person getting the kidney, and this is the person giving the kidney and this is the life that the person is receiving," said Dan's nephew Marshall Palmer, as he explained the shirt's design.

"I feel great because we make a difference," said Dan's daughter, Grace.

"Dan is such a great example of how you can live with a disease and not be miserable," said Jenny.

"It's just time and that's great. I'll have more energy. It will be wonderful," said Dan.

Dan isn't expected to undergo surgery for the transplant until June or July.

If you would like to help support Dan and Team Get A Life at this weekend's Kidney Walk, head out to Winterplace Park in Salisbury on Sunday May 5th. The event is completely free but donations are of course encouraged. Check in is at 9 a.m. and the walk is at 10 a.m.

For more information, go to http://donate.kidney.org/site/TR/Walk/Maryland?pg=entry&fr_id=5530.

Check out the family's Kidney Walk page by clicking here.

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