The Mississippi River may divide two states, but it won’t stop two communities from helping a native son save his father’s life by donating one of his kidneys.
Todd Welch has stage 5 kidney failure and only has one kidney.
His first kidney was removed when he was younger because it did not develop properly. After you were diagnosed with kidney failure five years ago, your single kidney is about 8 percent functional.
The Vidalia, Louisiana, resident has surprised doctors by continuing to work, without having to undergo dialysis or being put in a wheelchair, but it was clear that he would need a kidney transplant to recover. You have been on a transplant list for the past two years.
“I get tired very easily and am short of breath,” he said. However, he has been able to continue his day job supplying Frito Lay.
After much thought and prayer, Todd’s son, Mark Welch, offered a solution.
She learned that Todd’s body is more likely to accept the donated kidney if it comes from a living donor.
While the donor and recipient don’t have to be related, Mark said there is a better chance that they will be compatible if the recipient is the donor’s father.
“It was going to get worse and worse,” he said. “My wife and I just pitched the idea and, through a lot of prayer and guidance, we came to a decision. A few months ago, as things progressed, we felt that donating one of my kidneys was something we wanted to do. “
Mark said the process was much more complex than simply raising your hand to volunteer.
First, he and his father had to determine that they would be compatible. As fate would have it, they were. Just before Hurricane Ida hit the Louisiana coast in late August, they underwent a tissue compatibility test.
“We were as close as we could be without being identical twins,” Mark said.
Last week, Mark underwent a series of tests and consultations at the Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans. These tests will be reviewed by a board of living donors this week, who will finally decide if they can continue with the operation, which could take place in mid-November in Tulane.
The family has been happy about the situation. Mark said he has an older sister and a younger brother who he said were made fun of.
“Dad’s birthday is November 26 and I have said that if the operation happens around Thanksgiving, then this will be his birthday present from me. My brother and sister can’t exactly participate, ”he said. “We have a good sense of humor.”
Todd and Mark have been in contact with different people who have donated or received a kidney to make sure everything would work out. Mark should be able to recover in five to seven days and return to his desk job at Delta Bank. For Todd, the recovery is expected to last a bit longer – six to eight weeks. Todd said his work supervisors have been supportive and told him that his job would be waiting for him when he recovers.
“I am facing the greatest fear of my life. What if my kidney fails? “Todd said, and then Mark offered to donate his.” It’s weird to think that your son would do that for you and it’s overwhelming to think that he would. “
Their faith and the support of their churches and the Miss-Lou community has helped them through this process, they said. The best gift, Todd said, was when he was stopped by strangers at work who said they found out what he was facing and were praying for him.
“It’s humbling to think that so many people care and are praying for you,” he said.
A “Poppin ‘for Todd” fundraiser is scheduled for next Saturday, October 9 from 8 am to noon at Vidalia Delta Bank, 1617 Carter St. The fundraiser is sponsored by Kenny D’s Kettle Corn and various individuals. They have donated items to a silent auction and bake sale so that all proceeds go to the Welch family for the operation, travel, and medications Todd will need after surgery.
Donations of baked goods and auction items can be dropped off or mailed to Delta Bank in Vidalia or the Vidalia Police Department.
Those who wish to donate money to Todd and his wife Cristi’s PayPal can send funds to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Dad has always been one who gives you the shirt off his back without expecting to receive anything, always following a godly lifestyle. It’s weird to be on the other side of that with the community doing fundraisers for him, ”John said. “I guess it shows how much what you’ve done is appreciated. And it’s never surprising when the community comes together to help someone. People always step up and say ‘what can I do?’ “
Todd and Mark said that the first thing they need is prayer.