Chesterfield dad checks phone ‘constantly’ for one life-saving reason

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Playing soccer with his sons is the highlight of Kent Winter's Day, but it's also the most exhausting for the Chesterfield father of two.

In December 2016, Winter's kidneys began to fail and his blood became toxic. Since that time, he's had to undergo more than nine hours of Peritoneal dialysis each night in his home.

Winter said he easily gets fatigued and must adapt to lifestyle changes, including a strict diet.

"You take it day by day," Winter said. "That's all you can do at this point until you find a donor."

More than 120,000 people in the United States are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, 100,00 people are waiting for a kidney.

However, on average 20 people die every day from the lack of available organs for transplant.

Dr. Ralph Layman, M.D., a surgeon with the Virginia Transplant Center, said the average wait time for an organ is anywhere from five to seven years. He said living donors can make a difference when it comes to wait times for organ recipients.

Living donors can offer a kidney or a portion of their liver.

"There's a lot of donors that don't match their recipients, so we participate in a consortium of hospitals around the country that exchange living donors amongst the various hospitals, so that patients that have a living donor available- but may not have a matching donor, are able to get a living donor kidney," Layman said.

Extensive medical testing can determine if someone qualifies to be a living donor. Living donors can also live a healthy life with just one kidney or a portion of their liver.

Jen Winter said she was extremely grateful that her husband was still able to work full-time and travel, but she said the physical and emotional toll has been difficult on their family.

"He gets a lot more emotional about things than he used to and I have to remind him that we're just happy to have him here," she said.

Kent Winter said he's been on the national donor waiting list for more than two years. He's not giving up hope of finding a donor.

"I find myself constantly checking my phone," Winter said. "Everything happens for a reason, and I believe it's going to happen."

If you'd like information on becoming a living donor, you can contact Melissa Van Syckle at the Virginia Transplant Center at 1-877-626-4581. Kent Winter said his donor needs to have a blood type of O positive or O negative.

Working For Your Health is a partnership with HCA Healthcare. Serving the greater Richmond area, Chippenham, Henrico Doctors’, Johnston-Willis, Parham Doctors’, and Retreat Doctors’ Hospital are part of HCA Virginia. Watch for Working For Your Health reports Tuesdays on CBS 6 News at 7 p.m.

Watch for Working For Your Health reports on CBS 6.

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