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Why Batavia man is seeking living kidney donor.

Byline: David Heun Daily Herald correspondent

Facing his body's rejection of a transplanted kidney and seeking a living donor to essentially save his life is tough physically and mentally for Scott Buckingham.

But not for the reasons you'd think. The 45-year-old Batavia man is simply uncomfortable when it comes to seeking the help of others.

"I'm the type who would do anything for anybody, but I have a hard time asking for help for anything," Buckingham said.

His doctors, family and friends convinced him otherwise. They helped him get the word out that after years of suffering Type 1 diabetes and enduring a kidney and pancreas transplant in 2015.

Complications from viruses, including a particularly nasty one called the BK virus, made him extremely sick again and back on the donor waiting list because his transplanted kidney is failing.

"If me asking for help from a live donor also helps get the word out about how many people are dealing with this, then that is a good thing," Buckingham said.

It has been an eye-opening experience for Buckingham, who couldn't believe the number of people, especially very young ones, sitting through the orientation programs for those prepping for transplants.

"Since Obamacare came into play, everyone had insurance, so now they can be put on the donor list," he said. "Before that, if you didn't have insurance, you couldn't be on the list. In that regard, Obamacare has saved a lot of lives."

Buckingham, who lives in Batavia with Janina, his wife of nearly two years, and 14-year-old stepdaughter Janedis, considers learning more about the need and seeing people in even more dire straits than he as "a blessing in so many ways."

It has opened his eyes to a world of need that he'd much rather be trying to help, rather than seeking the help himself.

For now, Buckingham can only hope that a living donor would come forward. His doctors have already told him he doesn't have the 10 years or so it might take to get an organ off the donor list.

Having the most common O-positive blood type works against him in this case, as the waiting list is far longer than if he had a rare blood type.

"I wasn't proactive about this, but I just kept getting sicker," Buckingham added. "My doctor finally asked if I was going to do something about this, or wait until I was on dialysis and had one foot in the grave."

So it is, with some reluctance, but with a lot of prayers and support from his family and friends, that Buckingham ventures into a world he's not familiar with -- asking others for help, when he'd definitely prefer being the one providing it.

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Title Annotation:Neighbor
Author:Heun, By David
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Mar 25, 2018
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