Chad Corey thought he was fine and past the trouble he experienced with his kidneys as a child, when doctors discovered a "kink" in his ureter tube. Surgery and a stent followed, and for the next 17 years, Chad lived a healthy, active life, establishing a career as a photojournalist for KAAL-TV in Rochester. All of that changed four years ago when doctors at Mayo Clinic diagnosed him with stage 3 kidney disease. It has since progressed to stage 4, leaving Chad in need of a transplant. "It's not something you want to hear, but it becomes real when they tell you," Chad tells his station of receiving the news.
Before Chad can begin his search for a donor in earnest, he must first qualify for a kidney transplant. That means going through the testing and qualification process all transplant hopefuls must go through to ensure the best outcome when a donor is found. Mayo Clinic transplant surgeon Patrick Dean, M.D., tells KAAL-TV that "generally anyone" can donate a kidney provided their test results line up and indicate a compatible match. Though he's still early in that process, Chad tells KAAL-TV there's been no shortage of friends, family members, colleagues and others who have reached out to him and offered to go through the donor testing process.
And that, Chad says, gives him hope. As does his care team at Mayo, who KAAL-TV reports has been helping him through the wait of the qualification process by giving him small tokens of inspiration to help keep him going. Like the nurse who Chad says came in to his hospital room "and gave me and my mom a little rock that said, 'Faith.'
Chad says gestures like that have helped keep his spirits high as he waits for his chance at a new kind of life that he's more than ready for. "All my life I really haven't been 100 percent," he tells the station. "When I do get a transplant, I think I'll feel 100 percent and I won't even know what to do because I'll have more energy. I won't even feel like myself."