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'I would be so thankful': Shawnee man living with stage 5 kidney disease looking for match

Stephen Thon
Posted at 10:00 PM, Nov 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-26 23:26:51-05

SHAWNEE, Kan. — Stephen Thon of Shawnee is asking for a life-saving miracle this holiday season.

"I would be so thankful beyond words to have someone donate their kidney,” Thon said.   

Thon — a father, grandfather and husband — says he feels blessed to be surrounded by family this Thanksgiving.

Eight years ago, he was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney disease. Since then, it has progressed to stage 5.

As his journey continues, Thon says he is trying to prevent dialysis treatment after his mother, who passed from kidney disease, relied on it for 10 years after her diagnosis. 

Instead, he hopes to find a healthy individual with Type O-positive blood who wants "to give one of their kidneys to me for the rest of my life."

“I’ve been on KU's transplant list now for going on two years," Thon said. "They say because of my blood type, O-positive, it can take up to five years. So I’ve got three more years to go to wait, that’s for a deceased donor.” 

For the sake of spending more time with his grandchildren, Thon is sharing his story in hopes of finding a living donor.

“This Thanksgiving, I literally had to take some time out during the day from not playing games with the grandkids,” Thon said. “It's tough. I miss being able to do that with my kids, with my grandkids at a drop of a hat.” 

Remaining active has been difficult for Thon, especially with his wife Debbie who is recovering from cancer. Nevertheless, he is confident his match is out here.

“It would mean the world to me, absolutely the world to me, to be able to spend more time with my wife," he said. "We've been married for 45 years. I would love to be there for a lot longer for her, my daughters, my grandkids — to be there with them and all of their activities growing up."

Anyone who would like to help can call his transplant center at 913-945-6929.