Jacksonville father hopes to receive lifesaving kidney transplant in time for holiday season

Saving a life for the holidays

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Shannon Stephens, a local father of three, is in need of a new kidney.

Recently, he was placed on the waiting list for a transplant at Mayo Clinic.

"Every time my phone rings, my heart is about to jump out of my chest, you know just waiting for that phone call," Stephens said.

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Stephens went into kidney failure in 2005.

The 41-year-old has spent more than 10 years of his life on dialysis.

He goes three times a week to help remove all the toxins from his body and to keep his organs functioning.

It's a natural process that healthy people may often take for granted.

TAYLOR WILLIAMS CASE

"The toxins can build up in our system and if they're not removed,  death would be certain," he said.

There are currently more than 100,000 people waiting for a kidney transplant. Some 3,000 are added each month to the wait list. That's one every 14 minutes, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

Stephens told Action News Jax he tried to get a new kidney 10 years ago at UF Health but after waiting years, it didn't work out.

Dialysis also put him out of work since 2014 because it's taken a toll on his body.

It's also been a challenge trying to be there for his kids.

"They were young, very young when he first got on dialysis and it was me having teach them how to deal with their dad. You know' sometimes they would call me and say, 'Mommy, daddy's not feeling well,'" his wife Lawanda Stephens said.

Stephens said he just doesn't have a lot of strength after receiving dialysis, and he feels tired.

Now, he's hoping he'll get a call from the Mayo Clinic soon that they've found him a kidney especially with the holidays coming up so he doesn't miss out on any more opportunities.

"It gives you a different type of hope to actually be in their life and see them grow and see my next child graduate from high school and see my son graduate from high school so it's really hopeful yeah," Stephens said.

The couple hopes their story will help other families waiting for a lifesaving organ and inspire them to not give up hope.

Last year the Mayo Clinic performed 182 kidney transplants in Jacksonville.

For more information on how you can help the Stephens family, click here.

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