SHARONVILLE, Ohio - In July 2011, Angie Elston began feeling ill. Slight symptoms became extreme sickness and Elston was forced to seek help. Her trip to the hospital would uncover shocking news. She was suffering from double kidney failure or end-stage renal disease. The only way to survive was through permanent dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Elston, a Manufacturing technician at Ford Sharonville, began dialysis while awaiting a referral to the transplant program. After being accepted for transplantation, she was placed on a waiting list – a list she could be on for quite some time unless a match was found among family members or friends.
Testing began within her family but unfortunately, no one was a match. That’s when boyfriend and fellow Sharonville employee Damian Huseman stepped in.
“Finding a match outside of your family is pretty unlikely,” said Huseman. “But I decided to get my blood drawn anyway and it turned out I was a match!” And without hesitation, he agreed to be her donor.
After being on dialysis for approximately nine months, Elston was able to move forward in the transplant process. However, that didn’t mean immediate surgery.
“Once we found out I was a match, there was still a ton of testing that needed to be done,” Huseman said. “It was a long process but after another eight months or so, we were able to schedule the surgery.”
On Dec. 20, 2012, Elston and Huseman underwent surgery. Both are recovering well and Huseman has returned to work.
“I’ll be honest, I was pretty nervous. But I want people to know there’s no reason to be,” he said in regard to his decision to donate. “Giving Angie my kidney saved her life and I would do it again in a heartbeat.”