Father’s Day gift of life: Lakewood man prepares to give dad kidney

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DENVER – A 23-year-old from Lakewood is celebrating this Father’s Day weekend after announcing he will give his dad the gift of life.

Kidney functions failed completely six weeks ago for 51-year-old Don Fulton. He depends on dialysis to stay alive, but a gift from his son, Matt Fulton, promises to keep Don away from the grueling treatments.

Matt didn’t waste time contacting Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center (PSL) after learning his dad was facing major health issues.

“I’d do anything to save him,” Matt told FOX31.

It has been a long road for Don who suffers from a rare disease called IgA Nephropathy.

“I was on dialysis for six years until I got a kidney in 2011,” Don explained.

That 2011 transplant, from a cadaver, lasted Don seven years until a leg infection caused his kidney to completely fail about two months ago.

“When the kidney officially failed, that’s when I was really like—we’ve got to get this done,” Matt said.

In Colorado, people typically wait three to five years for a kidney unless a live donor volunteers.

“[Live kidney donation is] preferred to dialysis because it prolongs life … it can even double your survival,” PSL Dr. Vidya Bhandaram said.

Bhandaram is the PSL transplant program medical director. She says transplant surgery on Matt and Don will be performed on June 25. The surgery will be one of nearly 70 performed at PSL each year, according to Bhandaram.

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