By SCOTT JACKSON
Lori Croall said her husband, Brad Croall, a former city councillor, has always lived a healthy and active lifestyle, and it came as a complete surprise when he was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease last spring.
Brad Croall, now age 42, represented Ward 2 on the City Council for a decade before stepping down last January. Lori Croall said her husband began experiencing mild symptoms of what was later diagnosed as chronic kidney disease shortly after he left the council. The diagnosis was made after Lori Croall took her husband to the emergency room on Easter Sunday of last year.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” Lori Croall said of that visit to the emergency room, adding that her husband’s diagnosis “was completely, completely out of the blue.”
Brad Croall was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney failure while at the hospital, Lori Croall said. The diagnosis is linked to an underlying genetic condition that is specific to the kidneys, she stated; her husband remains otherwise healthy.
Brad Croall, an only child, was placed on the national kidney transplant list after his diagnosis, Lori Croall said, with the goal of finding a donor before he would be required to start dialysis.
Lori Croall said Brad’s condition remained steady over the summer while she was pregnant with their third child but began to decline after their daughter was born in August, increasing the odds he would have to undergo dialysis.
“The goal was to find a donor before dialysis was needed, but his numbers started dropping,” she said.
Despite his diagnosis, Lori Croall said Brad has been to keep up with his day-to-day activities, with a modified diet.
“He’s doing good and bad,” she said. “His function is Stage 5, which is the end stage of kidney disease. Mentally and physically, he can do his day-to-day activities, like working and going to the gym occasionally.”
Faced with the prospect of dialysis, the Croall family has established an email account that members of the community can use to see if they would be a match for Brad and to ask questions about the process. The email account, which Lori manages, is firstname.lastname@example.org. Lori said her and Brad’s insurance would cover costs associated with the donation.
Lori Croall said she has signed up to be a kidney donor, though she and her husband have different blood types; she has type B blood and he has type O blood.
Lori Croall said she signed up to be a donor in case there is a couple out there with the same blood types also in need of a kidney donation. Using what’s known as a donor swap, Lori would donate her kidney to a recipient with type B blood while Brad would receive a kidney from a person with type O blood.
A kidney donor can live a perfectly normal life after making a donation, Lori Croall said.
“If nothing else, it’s great to educate people about the process,” she said. “We’re all born with one kidney to use and one to spare. You can change someone’s life and save someone’s life by donating – not just Brad, anybody.”