About Matthew


Hi! I am Matt, I am 16 years old and my kidney journey started when I was about 3 years old. I was born with Urinary Reflux which is an issue with your bladder, not a kidney issue. Unfortunately, it was not caught right away as there are no symptoms. This actually was caught on a fluke by my pediatrician who sent me in for an ultrasound and other testing which confirmed that there was a problem and it needed to get fixed as soon as possible.

Since my urinary system was not functioning correctly, it caused the urine to back up into my kidneys and cause permanent damage. Based on 100% usage of the kidneys, my kidneys at the time were at 68%. As I have been able to keep up with my nephrologist appointments and take whatever medications they needed me to take, I have been able to stay out of the hospitals and for the most part be as healthy as I can possibly be.
That is….until now. My current kidney function stands at 25%. I still feel good, however, my blood levels are elevated in certain tests because of the kidney disease. I do feel grateful though as I am getting the opportunity to search for a live donor and as we speak some people are in the process of being tested. I am also on the donor list for cadaver kidneys, however, I have to be down to 15% function before they would do the transplant. If we find a live donor, we can do the transplant whenever we decide. I consider this a blessing as most people do not have this opportunity to seek out potential living donors. I am calling this my “grace” period. I am focusing on better control of what I eat and trying to maintain the little function that I do have left.

It has also given my family time to sign up with the Children’s Organ Transplant Association and get things rolling with fundraising as out of pocket transplant costs can be very expensive. The cost of a transplant often exceeds $500,00 and many transplant families are unable to shoulder the financial burden of such a procedure. The Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) is a national 501c3 charity dedicated to organizing and guiding communities in raising funds for transplant-related expenses.

I have accepted my condition and have big plans for my future, one that includes college. Right now, my focus is starting junior year at my high school, taking driver’s ed and going to tech campus for 3D gaming and applied tech. I want to continue my life as normal as I can, but look forward to the day that I can hopefully put this kidney stuff to rest, as least for a little while, and concentrate on my life and career.

I know this is a long journey but one I am prepared to handle. I do love to unwind with some good music, movies or relaxing with my two dogs and three cats. We are a huge animal loving family!!

Thanks for reading my story and I hope that you will consider giving a donation, in my honor, to COTA. Every little bit helps and is certainly appreciated.

If you are interested in being tested as a possible living kidney donor for me, call the University of Chicago at 773-834-2794 as I can accept A or O blood (RH factor does not matter), but ALL can be tested if interested in doing a live donor swap. Make sure you mention that you are being tested for me, Matthew Dobson.