My name is Mike Mays and I have been an Army Civilian employee for over 12 years working in the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) defense sector.  I have spent a majority of my time developing CBRN sensor capabilities for the Joint services.  I have also been on several detail assignments supporting other areas within the CBRN community.  Some of my detail assignments have included working for Army HQ (G8) in the Pentagon as a CBRN LNO, Executive Officer for the Research Director for the Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center (ECBC) and as a CBRN subject matter expert (SME) supporting the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO).  Currently I am the Special Projects Lead back in Edgewood and I am responsible for several robotics and forensic CBRN defense projects sponsored by SOCOM, PACOM and CENTCOM.  Recently I have been having some health issues related to a genetic kidney disorder that is going to require me to have a kidney transplant.  Here is my story:
 
As an early teenager, I was diagnosed with Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). Over the years, PKD has had very little impact on my life and I was monitored regularly by a nephrologist with no real symptoms or complications, up until 4 years ago. Since then I have had multiple trips to the hospital with extended stays, blood transfusions and other complications.

This past June, I was back in the hospital, but this time the outcome of that episode changed everything. The disease has reduced my kidney function to 20%, putting me on the verge of dialysis. This is the unfortunate side of this disorder, once it starts progressing it doesn't slow, and since kidneys don't heal, there is no chance for my function to miraculously return. 

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In order to avoid dialysis, my doctors have presented me with the option of having a preemptive double nephrectomy (kidney removal) and kidney transplant. For me, and my family, that decision was very simple, we are all in. The decision to do this bears a heavy burden, given the risks, but the UMD Medical Center is one of the few hospitals in the country that can perform a double nephrectomy and transplant all in one surgery. I am looking forward to being able to have a normal life again, because right now my quality of life is not what it should be for a normal 40 year old, and I am too young to be dealing with dialysis. 

On Monday, I met with Dr. Leeser and the UMMC Transplant Team to begin my in processing for a kidney transplant and qualification for the kidney donor recipient list. This meeting was also a chance for me to review and assess the different options on how a donated kidney is provided for this surgery. There are living donor matches, deceased donor matches, and a kidney exchange program. The best option for me, given my age, is to find a living donor (direct match or not) it will all work based on the transplant options that UMMC has in place. 

So, this is where I need your help.......and it's not a small request.........I need a new kidney. This is an awkward request to make, but it is what it is and there is no easy way to ask.

Now, there are a couple of options to help me whether you are interested in donating or not:
1.  If you personally feel like you want to be a donation candidate, you can fill out a donor questionnaire and go through the donation process. The process is kept private between you and the donation coordinator, and my insurance covers the costs of testing for compatibility and the actual procedure plus follow up. The surgery these days is laparoscopic and only requires a 1-2 day stay in the hospital. Most donors are back to work in 2 weeks. 

All you have to do is call 1-410-328-5408 or 1-800-492-5538 and talk with the transplant coordinator (reference my name as the potential recipient: Robert Michael Mays), or send me a message/text or email and I can E-Mail you the forms to fill out (if you don't care that I know you are interested in donating). I have attached the web link providing more information about my disease, the UMMC Transplant Team and the donation process here:
http://umm.edu/programs/transplant/services/kidney-transplant-and-dialysis-access

2.  If you are not interested in donating, I am simply asking you to do one thing:
Pass on this message to your friends and relatives. 

The more the word gets out there, the better chances are for me to find a living donor. I won't know unless I actually ask. Even if they aren't a match and are willing to donate, it helps me get a new kidney quicker through the kidney exchange program.

If you have any other questions about the program, you can call 1-410-328-5408 or 1-800-492-5538 and talk with the transplant coordinator. And if you have questions for me, feel free to contact me at dukelion@gmail.com.  

In closing I want to thank you for for taking the time to read this, it wasn't easy asking for help like this. Anything you can do would be a huge favor to me and my family. I look forward to getting this all over with as soon as possible.

Thanks,
Mike Mays

Editor’s Note: This request came through Project Help veterans advocacy group in Sussex County