Jason Moore only has one kidney and requires dialysis three times a week to stay alive. He's hopeful to find a living donor. Photo courtesy Jason Moore
Jason Moore only has one kidney and requires dialysis three times a week to stay alive. He's hopeful to find a living donor. Photo courtesy Jason Moore

Local man, 33, in need of kidney transplant

Jason Moore chalked up the extreme fatigue to working 80 hours a week as the manager of a grocery store, but a visit to his primary care doctor revealed something worse.

“They called us the next morning and admitted him to the ER and told him that he needed dialysis immediately,” said his wife, Shawna. “They didn’t know how he was still kicking.”

A New York native, Mr. Moore, 33, was born with two kidneys; however, one of them was damaged and had to be removed.

“My left kidney wasn’t functioning. It was swollen and hard,” he said.

His right kidney had functioned well for most of his life. However, on that November day in 2022, only a month after the Moores had gotten married, tests showed the kidney was only working at about five percent.

Jason and Shawna Moore got married in October 2022. The following month Jason Moore was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease. Photo courtesy Jason Moore

Growing up, Mr. Moore had a lot of doctors’ appointments, but after he became an adult, he focused less on his health and more on his career, moving to different parts of the Southeast for work until a promotion brought him to Augusta.

Now, his weekly schedule includes three days of dialysis a week as he awaits a kidney transplant. He delivers for Instacart because he lost his managerial position.

“Close to 89,000 patients are awaiting kidney transplants,” said Dr. Angello Lin, Professor and Section Chief of Transplant Surgery and the Carlos and Marguerite Mason Distinguished Chair in Transplant Surgery and Immunology at Wellstar MCG Health.

And less than 20,000 kidneys are donated each year.

The Moores are hopeful of finding a living donor.

Several members of Moore’s family have undergone testing to see if they are candidates including Shawna Moore, but none have qualified to donate.

 “It was so heartbreaking for me especially,” she said. “Jason is O-negative, the universal donor, but he can only receive from O-negative blood type. I am O-negative. I went through and was a match, but my own kidney function was one point off from being eligible for donation.”

Lin called living organ donation a “wonderful gift of life. We have two kidneys, and it is safe to donate one to another person.”

When evaluating potential donors, Lin said their well-being is of the utmost importance. A living donor advocate acts on their behalf.

“We want to make sure there’s no harm to the donor,” he said.

Jason and Shawna Moore. Photo courtesy Jason Moore

 A potential donor will undergo a battery of tests, not limited to blood type matching and human leukocyte antigen typing.  

There are multiple advantages to having a living donor over organs from someone who has died.

One factor is time.

With a living donor, the organ can be removed from the donor and placed in the patient within a fraction of the time because they are in the hospital at the same time and in close proximity. With a deceased donor, the organ will be removed, placed on ice and transported. It could take 12 to 16 hours before the organ is placed into the recipient.

A donation from a living donor can last for 14 to 20 years, Lin said. The organ from a deceased donor often lasts half that time. Typically, the living donor’s kidney will start to work immediately, but with a deceased donor, dialysis is needed about 30 to 50% of the time to kickstart it.

The Moores said they have received a lot of support from the community and are grateful. A gofundme campaign has helped them pay for lifesaving medications. The couple owes more than $10,000 in medical debt as his treatments continue.

 And although Shawna Moore works and donates plasma regularly to earn additional money, she worries how they will continue to pay their mortgage.

“We’ll figure it out. We always seem to,” she said.

To learn more, visit Jason Moore’s page at the National Kidney Registry here.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News and Inspiring: Women of Augusta, has covered Augusta’s news for more than 35 years and is a Georgia Press Association award winner. Reach her at charmain@augustagoodnews.com. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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