A York County man needs your help. His organs are failing, but there is hope.
TJ and Rachel have two kids, 6-year-old Aidan and his little sister Adelyn; she’s a year and a half old.
Aidan loves playtime with Dad, but lately, it just hasn’t been as much fun.
“I feel like a lot of time we do stuff inside because it’s easier for me,” said TJ, sitting on the couch. “I try as best I can to play with the kids, but sometimes I’m so exhausted.”
Aidan’s dad TJ has two jobs. He works at the 911 emergency center by day and comes home to his night gig.
“This is all the supplies I have to deal with,” said TJ, looking at plastic bags and wires set up in his bedroom.
TJ has stage 5 kidney disease.
Every night for he works through dialysis for hours. The process consists of a tube that connects bags to a machine to a port in his stomach.
TJ’s been on a waiting list for a cadaver kidney for two years; the wait is usually seven.
“That’s a long time,” TJ said. “Things can happen. I could get sick. I could die.”
TJ says cadaver kidneys aren’t as effective as living ones. He said a living kidney donation can last 20-25 years where a deceased one might only last 10-15 years.
We’re all born with two kidneys, but most people can live a healthy life with one.
A few people have already tried to donate to TJ, but so far no one has been a match.
“Even that process [of people trying to donate to my husband] has restored my faith in humanity,” Rachel said.
But not long after, with tears welling in her eyes, she said she’s worried.
“There are times I get depressed,” TJ said. “Sometimes I start thinking it’s just not going to happen [and that I’m never going to get a new kidney].”
While his parents worry, Aidan prays.
“I pray some nights,” he said. “I have a wishing star there by my light.”
With childlike faith, he’s helping his parents keep theirs.
“Sometimes [praying] comes true and sometimes it doesn’t – and this time, it’s going to come true I think.”
The Bradley family is hoping to get dad back into the game.
“I want people to give my dad a kidney, and make sure my dad is safe,” Aidan said.
TJ’s story has spread across the U.S. as far as Hawaii. He’s still waiting for a donor match.
TJ’s family has a social media campaign and his wife has made T-shirts to help raise awareness.
If you’re interested in helping TJ and his family, click here.
For a T-shirt to help spread awareness, click here.