Delmarva resident in need of a kidney

SALISBURY, Md. –¬†Chronic Kidney Disease, sometimes referred to as “the silent killer” is an experience that millions have had.

Paul Butler is a familiar face in Wicomico County, a former news anchor who now serves as a spokesperson for the county’s schools. He’s battled diabetes for about 25 years, leading to his Chronic Kidney Disease diagnosis.

“I started having cramps in my legs at night which is really a pain, I started having loss of appetite, itchy skin, and these are some of the symptoms of chronic kidney disease. So now the doctors are saying okay you need to start thinking about dialysis, you need to start thinking about kidney transplants cause you’re going to eventually need a new kidney,” says Butler.

“To be active throughout my whole life, played high school college all that kind of stuff, it is a big change to have days where you wake up and you’re like man, I just don’t feel like it today.”

Now, Butler, who once shared these types of stories on television, has become the story himself.

“I’m used to being on the other side of the camera asking the questions but I think it’s so important that we get the word out about kidney transplants, kidney donations,” says Butler. “If you can get a living donor, it can happen in a couple of months, so that’s my plan.”

It’s a big ask, but Nicole Scharf with the National Kidney Foundation says a kidney donation can be life saving. Something she went through herself when a friend needed help.

“I watched her three days a week sit on that machine for 4 hours and try to work full time try to take care of a family take care of her brother and I thought this is awful, this is an awful way to live,” says Scharf.

Nicole wasn’t a match for her friend, but her kidney ended up matching someone else – a stranger she helped get a second chance at a normal life. She says nothing in her life as changed and she feels great.

“I wish I had a million kidneys and could do it a million more times.”

Besides getting Butler and millions of others a new kidney, Paul and Nicole are also both working to break the stigma around asking for help.

You must be at least 18 years old to donate, and are ineligible if you have high blood pressure or diabetes. The best way to find out if you can donate, or even if your kidneys are healthy, is to visit your doctor.

For more information on how you can donate, you can visit kidney.org.

Categories: Health, Local News, Maryland