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Taj Eldridge Needs a Kidney

Taj Eldridge Needs a Kidney

Author: Marcelle Chaffin

11/10/2020·In: I Need a Hero

My name is Taj Eldridge, I am 45 years old! I work in the Venture Capital Industry as an Investment Director. I am a Father of 3, Ava, Luc and Lea, one in College and two in High School. My Spouse Ivy is a Professor of Education at The University of California Riverside. Even though I live in California, my heart is in Texas. I am a Texan through and through!

When I was around 30 and shopping for health insurance, I kept getting denied because they were finding protein in my urine. I had no idea what that meant at the time. I didn’t know what’s what! My Doctor at the time, referred me to a Nephrologist. The Nephrologist was saying, it’s okay you are an older black man, you’re fine! Fast forward to a decade later, I was at a party talking to someone about not being able to get health insurance because of that. Her face literally dropped. She said, you need to get a biopsy! I got a biopsy the next day, the results came back, I had Stage 4 Kidney Disease! I was diagnosed with FSGS. I had to go on Dialysis immediately. There was so much stress dealing with it. I was so angry that it wasn’t diagnosed sooner.

It is so important to talk about stuff like I am doing today. I had no idea that two other Family members had the same disease. It is hereditary but no one in my Family talked about it. They didn’t even know what they had, they just knew they had kidney failure.

I go to dialysis on Monday, Wednesday’s and Friday’s from 3:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. I chose to do that so I could go to work immediately following my treatments. Having kidney disease has taken a toll on me from a Social Standpoint. My life has changed tremendously. Because I am not able to travel Internationally, it has really hurt my career. I was really unsure how my Company would treat me when they found out about my disease. But I am really fortunate to have an Organization that is so supportive.

I am registered at Loma Linda University to get a transplant. I feel that a Living Kidney is a much better specimen than a cadaver kidney. We are thankful for cadaver kidneys or kidneys from people who donate their organs at the time of their death but the Living Kidneys last longer and are better for you. One of the things I hear often is that 45 is relatively young for kidney disease, so I would want an organ that will last as long as my life is here on this earth.

There are 3 things that I hope that people take away from my story today:

  1. Always get tested if you think there is something wrong and always get a second opinion.
  2. Definitely think about being a donor NOW, don’t wait until you pass away. The kidneys are one of the only organs that you can donate while you are alive and still function at your peak level with one kidney inside of you. It literally can give a person freedom!
  3. Lastly is what I want Employers and Employees to do. When we think about discrimination, we usually think about racial and gender but we also need to take into consideration those of us with chronic illnesses like kidney disease. To be more open to being a better Community Member with it as well helps with the stress of managing this disease. Because a lot of us who are in my position are young like me and are still working, we struggle with how much we should share. How much do we tell people that we are tired or that our memory is not as good as it used to be.

Awareness is Key! One of the things I hear often is “I’m not educated enough to make a decision about donating my kidney”. I think that Just a Kidney will help people understand this disease, what we go through on a daily basis, that Living Kidney donation is not a laborious process, why it’s needed and how they can help by becoming a Living Donor!

Will you be my hero? Please sign up with Just a Kidney today to become a Living Kidney Donor!