By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(March 19, 2020) Berlin resident Nick Morris, 74, is in dire need of a kidney transplant and is searching for an O-positive donor in the area.
Morris has been a resident of Worcester County since 1975, and has been an English teacher, college instructor, long-time employee of the Alaska Stand, and lifeguard for the Ocean City Beach Patrol, Assateague Island National Seashore and Ocean Pines.
Two years ago, Morris was diagnosed with an enlarged prostate, which in turn caused his kidneys to fail. He has been waiting for a kidney transplant since January 2019.
Since his diagnosis, he noticed his energy levels dropping.
“My levels go up and down, up and down [and then] I have to come to grips mentally with this [condition] that you’ve got to monitor all the time.” Morris said. “There are days when I’ll start out and never quite feel as if I am really ever at 100 percent. I start out at a lower level and then by the end of the day, I’m done.
“Some days I ask myself, ‘Is this a sign that I should go right to the doctor,’” he continued.
Just this January, Morris applied to be on the kidney donor list, which can take up to six years, made even longer as his age made him less of a priority candidate on the list, he said.
“I actually would prefer a life donor,” Morris said. “They do donations of deceased donors, but the lifespan of those are considerably less than it would be for a live donor.”
Currently, Morris’ kidneys are between stages 4 and 5 of kidney failure, which means if his condition gets any worse, he will be forced to undergo dialysis.
It is possible to survive with only one kidney, and the recovery time is around two weeks or less for the donor. Recently, there have been discussions in the Maryland General Assembly to provide tax incentives for organ donors as well.
Morris had been matched twice in the past, but the donors decided to change their minds, though he still has hope.
“I am a good candidate,” said Morris. “I have no other health issues.”
Most importantly, finding a kidney would give Morris the time to travel, enjoy the foods he has been forced to stop eating and live healthy once again.
“There’s still a lot of stuff I gotta do,” he said. “I’d still like to be here.”
Readers interested in being a living donor, should take the first step is to find out if they are blood compatible. Morris needs a donor with an “O” blood type. If unsure of blood type, check with the Blood Bank of Delmarva (if you have donated before), your doctor, or order a home test kit for less than $10.
If your blood type is not a match for Morris, there is still a chance to help someone else through a process called the paired kidney exchange. A paired kidney exchange allows donors to “swap” with other donors’ recipients. Through a carefully orchestrated process, one person gives a kidney to an unknown recipient, and that recipients willing donor, in exchange, gives a kidney to a different recipient with whom they are compatible.
The next step is to fill out the application, which can be found online at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Potential donors can contact Morris by phone at 410-629-9068, or 410-641-2310, or via email at email@example.com.