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Hammond man’s kidney transplant scheduled for next month


HAMMOND — A Hammond man who appealed to strangers for a life-saving kidney will have his surgery next month.

Scott W. Kron, 44, has IgA nephropathy, a hereditary kidney disease, and has been on dialysis for the past several months. His search for a suitable donor proved fruitless and, in November, he turned to Facebook and local media outlets for help finding a match.

On Jan. 13, Mr. Kron will have kidney transplant surgery thanks to Lyons Falls resident Evangeline “Vangie” T. Yelton, 43.

“I thought it was too good to be true,” he said Friday after doctors set his surgery date.

Mrs. Yelton said she contacted Mr. Kron almost immediately after seeing a link to a television news story about him on her Facebook news feed.

“I had a gut feeling,” Mrs. Yelton said. “I told my husband that I wanted to do it, and he said, ‘You know when you know.’”

Mrs. Yelton said the similarities between her and Mr. Kron also motivated her.

“He is a year older than me and has six children, and I have seven,” she said. “I recently had a cousin get a transplant, and I saw the difference it made. She was so close to dying. Before this, I thought only family members could donate.”

Once she consulted the donor registry, the decision to donate was a no-brainer, she said.

“The way I see it is, too many people are dying and you can’t help them. But you can help those who need a kidney,” she said. “You only need one. Most people can live very healthy — sometimes even longer — with one kidney.”

The surgery will take place at Erie County Medical Center, Buffalo. A page has been set up to help Mr. Kron with his medical and travel expenses:

“The doctors keep asking if we are siblings because they rarely see a match so close,” Mrs. Yelton said. “We are a 98.8 percent match.”

The two have become great friends, meeting three times and calling each other regularly.

“We found out that he lives only five minutes from our camp. We must have passed by his house a million times,” Mrs. Yelton said. “He is like a big brother I never had, and he tells me I am like his little sister.”

They both see their friendship lasting long after the scars of their surgeries have healed.

“We haven’t even been talking about the surgery or the tests,” Mrs. Yelton said. “It’s just been all fun and laughter. This is a great connection we all have, and I am really blessed to be a part of it.”

Mrs. Yelton and Mr. Kron also have formed the Northern New York Connection: Bringing Together Living Kidney Donors/Recipients. Mrs. Yelton has set up a Facebook page for the group and hopes to have a website up and running in the next three months. The Facebook page already has more than 60 members.

“I know how it is living here and by my visits to the Renal Center,” Mr. Kron said. “We don’t have this kind of notification system in the north country.”

“We have one woman who saw story about a Malone woman and got tested,” Mrs. Yelton said. “To me, despite the fact that I am donating a kidney, I see this as blessing that I am receiving.”

As for Mr. Kron, he expects to fully recuperate three months after his surgery.

“My kids and my wife are excited. I am excited,” Mr. Kron said. “The money is going to be tough. We are trying to scrape together the money for the trips that I have to do in winter time.”

Mrs. Yelton said she is not nervous or hesitant about the surgery.

“I am at total peace with this,” Mrs. Yelton said. “I just hope my small gesture will encourage others to help, too.”

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