Ken Fitzpatrick first learned he had kidney disease at 19 years old. He was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, a condition where clusters of cysts develop and grow in the kidneys. At 56 years old, after dealing with the disease his entire life, Ken\u2019s kidney function started to decline very quickly, and he began dialysis.\nPatients who do not receive a kidney transplant must continue dialysis for the rest of their lives. Ken knew that if he ever wanted to return to his normal life, a transplant was necessary. Because there are more than 95,000 people across the country on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, he knew finding a living donor was his best option.\n\n\n\n\nDuring a living-donor kidney transplant, a transplant surgeon removes a healthy kidney from a living donor and transplants it into the patient. The human body only needs one kidney to function, which makes this surgery possible.\nWaiting for two years on the transplant list, Ken was less energetic, missing work, and losing hope that he would find a kidney donor. His nephew, Frank, noticed these changes and was very unhappy to see how the dialysis treatment was affecting his uncle\u2019s quality of life. He scheduled a transplant evaluation to see if he could be a living donor.\nAfter the testing was complete, Frank was overjoyed to learn that he was approved to donate and was excited to tell Ken the good news.\n\u201cIt was just a sigh of relief knowing that something\u2019s going to happen,\u201d Ken said.\nIn 2017, after years of struggling with kidney disease, Ken received a second chance at life thanks to his nephew\u2019s generous gift.\nAfter waking up in the recovery room, Ken didn\u2019t even think the procedure had been performed, because he woke up feeling great. He was amazed and grateful that he had this chance.\n\u201cEveryone at UPMC just made everything go so smoothly,\u201d Ken says. \u201cI\u2019d recommend it in a heartbeat if somebody needed a kidney.\u201d\nFrank and Ken\u2019s results may not be representative of all similar cases.