KILLEEN - A Killeen firefighter is parting ways with his kidney to save his sister's life.
Krista Withers suffers from lupus, an incurable disease where the immune system attacks its own tissues. For Krista, the disease attacked her kidneys, leading her to get a kidney transplant in 2008. But, the donated kidney is now starting to fail.
Learning about Krista's kidney failure, her brother Jared Leverton decided to give one of his kidneys to her.
"She's my sister. she's family," Jared said. "I am perfectly able to do it there's no reason why I shouldn't do it"
Krista spent two and a half years on a donor list waiting for her first transplant. And, she has a total of three kidneys in her body.
"The one in the front is the transplanted kidney, and now they're going to remove all three," Krista explained. "I'll be on dialysis 2-3 weeks to recover, and then I'll get my transplant. That's what makes me nervous the most is not having any kidneys at all"
Krista said life without a functioning organ is challenging. And, she's glad she will soon be able to put those days behind her.
"Extremely hard," Krista said. "It takes your whole life away from you. You can't work. You're tired all the time. It's rough."
It's also rough on the wallet. If the latest transplant goes as planned, Krista will spend up to a year in and out of hospital rooms. So, her family has started an online campaign to offset the costs.
There is no date for the surgery yet because doctors are planning around Jared's work schedule.
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