A kidney transplant to save a life
By December 2016, J.R. Rimmer was about ready to give up on life.
After a lifetime of diabetes, a bacterial infection had left his kidneys nearly unusable. For two years, he had spent three days a week in dialysis, waiting for a kidney transplant. The treatments left him weak, unable to care for his Shetland ponies, one of the great passions of his life. J.R. was used to an active life — blacksmithing horseshoes, chasing his grandson around their farm and putting in a full day’s work. This new, weakened state made his life, in his words, “barely worth living.”
“I needed dialysis to stay alive, but to me, at the point I was at, it wasn’t living. I was only existing,” J.R. says. J.R. sat down with his wife, Melanie, and their two daughters and told them that, after the first of the year, he was stopping dialysis, a choice that would, without a doubt, cause his kidneys to fail. Melanie knew she had done everything she could: she already had volunteered to donate one of her kidneys on J.R.’s behalf — a choice that moved him higher on the transplant list. All they could do was wait.
Good news came just a few days before Christmas, when the Rimmers got a call from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Transplant team: They’d found a match for J.R. They’d also found a donor in need of one of Melanie’s kidneys.