In Manning mayor's kidney search, time is of the essence - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

In Manning mayor's kidney search, time is of the essence

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The mayor of one Midlands town is close to renal failure if she doesn't receive a kidney as soon as possible.

Manning's mayor, Julia Nelson, found out just before Thanksgiving that she needed a new kidney due to something called polycystic kidney disease, which she's been suffering with since 2009. She kept her disease quiet for awhile but realized she couldn't when she needed help.

"To be honest, I've been praying for a medical miracle," said Nelson.

Unfortunately, the disease is genetic and automatically disqualifies any of Nelson's family members from being able to donate the desperately needed organ.

"Now that's going to be a job to get someone to give me a kidney because you don't think you have anyone in your life that loves you enough," said Nelson.

Mayor Nelson spends countless hours on the job and says dialysis is not a feasible option.

Nelson's physician, Dr. Tepsiri Chong, says the mayor's best long-term treatment is a transplant from a living donor.

"Her kidney function is less than 10 percent," said Chong.

"There are a lot of patients with kidney disease and they need help. I've seen many donors who walk around with one kidney and they're doing just fine."

Clayton Pack is one of them. He is the Mayor Pro-Tem of Manning. He donated a kidney to his brother 16 years ago.

"I love my brother, so I said I'd donate my kidney," said Pack.

"The best gift is the gift of life. I just believe you can live a healthy life afterward."

With several avenues exhausted, Nelson has started a campaign called "Kidney by Christmas," and so far she's gotten kidney offers from Facebook and across the state.

At least 19 people have been lined up for preliminary testing at MUSC to see if they match Nelson's kidney.

There are so many people living with kidney disease who need transplants. Mayor Nelson says she wants others to understand the power of giving the gift of life because a generous gift can help her raise her son.

"Of course, I want to be here for him as long as I can," said Nelson.

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.

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