AUSTIN (KXAN) — Kayla Firova is already wrapping presents to go under her Christmas tree, but she’s also preparing to give an even more enduring gift. Firova hopes to donate her kidney to her father, Alfred, this holiday season.
Alfred has dealt with kidney failure for two years, but needed to lose weight to get on the kidney transplant list.
“He has half a foot, can hardly walk, has leg problems and back problems,” Firova explained.
Over Thanksgiving, her father was approved to be on the kidney transplant list, but there was a six-year wait for the actual transplant.
Firova already knows she has the same blood type with her dad, and pending a few medical clearances, she plans to donate her kidney to him. Even if her kidney is not a match, with her donation she could swap with another donor family to help get her dad the kidney he needs.
Firova has been on the receiving end of many acts of kindness in the past year. She and all her family were affected by Hurricane Harvey, and the complex where Firova lived in Refugio was destroyed. Firova recalled how her family weathered the storm together, and how somehow her dad’s dialysis machine miraculously remained attached by an extension cord to his truck through the storm.
She moved to Austin immediately after with support from FEMA as she felt the job market was better there. Here parents remained in Refugio.
Firova said she’s felt supported by her new community in Austin. She works as a cashier at an H-E-B and said her customers regularly ask how her dad is doing and keep her family in their prayers. She believes all that support has made this difficult chapter a little easier.
After going through her father’s health struggles, she was set on donating her kidney.
“[Whether] my dad if he was gonna get approved or not,I wanted to give to someone else,” she said.
Firova wanted to share her story to encourage others who had considered being living donors. She says even the possibility of this donation has changed her life and her father’s.
“I hope I do open people’s eyes,” she said.
According to the National Kidney Registry, transplant patients generally live twice as long as those who stay on dialysis, and kidneys donated from living donors typically last twice as long as kidneys which are not.
The Alliance for Paired Donation states that there are around 100,000 people in the U.S. waiting for kidney transplants, but only 17,000 will receive them this year.