CENTER, Texas (KSLA) — On a gray and dreary day in downtown Center, 24-year-old Kristen Shofner and her 3-year-old son James, are on a walk - a moment that reminds her of a time when life was good.
“It was fun, adventurous,” Shofner said. “I was always going on cruises, I was always gone - life was normal.”
Life now, though, could not be further from normal.
“We’re making it, but it’s a struggle,” she said.
Two years ago, at 22 years old, Kristen’s future suddenly went out of focus. “My feet and legs started swelling, I knew something wasn’t right,” she added. “They were real big, I couldn’t see my toes, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t get up by myself.”
This is when a doctor gave her life-altering news, which potentially numbered her days.
“He comes back and tells me, ‘I think you’re in kidney failure, you need to see a nephrologist now.'”
Kristen was diagnosed with Goodpasture’s Syndrome, a very rare disease which affects just one in a million people annually. The kidneys and lungs are attacked by antibodies, which normally protect a person from infection.
It can lead to bleeding in the lungs and, in Kristen’s case, kidney failure.
“My doctor had one other patient, she was 25, and she passed away from it,” she said. “It’s still not real.”
For two years Kristen has undergone dialysis, which forced her to leave her job. She has dialysis three times a week, four hours at a time.
“I can’t live without it,” she said. “It will suck the life out of you, it’s really draining.”
Kristen is currently on a waiting list for a kidney transplant, which can be a wait of three to five years. But, instead of waiting, Kristen is taking matters into her own hands - to the best of her ability.
She created a Facebook page, Kidney For Kristen, with hopes of raising attention and finding a living donor to help save her life.
“I hope I can find a donor that way,” Kristen said. “You could help save somebody’s life.”
It’s a grim reality, but she’s holding onto hope.
You can send a message on Facebook to Kristen, or send her an email at KidneyForKristen@gmail.com, if you’re interested in donating a kidney.
Kristen said her insurance covers the kidney transplant operation.