Kid­ney transplant sur­vivor tack­les rap­pelling.

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By CHAR­LENE MAYO cmayo@ches­ Fol­low me on Twit­ter @Char_DEa­gle

Dun­dalk res­i­dent Donne Mel­ton par­tic­i­pated in The Na­tional Kid­ney Foun­da­tion Serv­ing Mary­land and Delaware’s 9th an­nual Rap­pel for Kid­ney Health on Satur­day.

“I will be rap­pelling off of a 38-story build­ing,” Mel­ton told the Ea­gle be­fore the event.

For Mel­ton, the cause is per­sonal.

At 26, he be­gan to feel un­bear­able symp­toms like fa­tigue.

Af­ter a visit to Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity, doc­tors dis­cov­ered blood in Mel­ton’s urine.

Once doc­tors did more in­ves­ti­gat­ing, they no­ticed his kid­ney cre­a­tine was el­e­vated, lead­ing them to di­ag­nose Mel­ton with kid­ney dis­ease.

“When I found out I had kid­ney dis­ease, my whole life changed,” Mel­ton said.

A biopsy showed dead scar tis­sues and that Mel­ton’s kid­ney was only work­ing at 50 per­cent.

“I was told that I could live with that, but it was be­yond re­pair,” Mel­ton said.

Eight years later, Mel­ton be­gan to have short­ness of breath and sim­i­lar symp­toms he suf­fered years ago.

Mel­ton’s mother took him to Franklin Square Hos­pi­tal, where they dis­cov­ered his kid­ney was only op­er­at­ing at 20 per­cent.

Af­ter be­ing eval­u­ated for a week, doc­tors de­ter­mined that he needed to go on dial­y­sis.

Feel­ing dis­cour­aged, Mel­ton called his par­ents for ad­vice; they said he needed to ac­cept the dial­y­sis treatment.

Be­fore start­ing dial­y­sis, Mel­ton un­der­went surgery where they placed a catheter into his ch­est and a dial­y­sis fis­tula into his left arm.

As Mel­ton ad­vanced in treatment, he had to take 15 to 20 pills, twice a day. Mel­ton stopped work­ing. “When you’re on dial­y­sis, there’s a lot that you can’t do,” Mel­ton said.

“It’s like a job,” he added. Mel­ton woke up ev­ery­day at 5:15 a.m to make it to his ap­point­ments for six years.

“I couldn’t travel like I use to. I had to close my cleaning busi­ness and put my en­ter­tain­ment com­pany on hold be­cause I didn’t have the en­ergy, or the mind set to keep it go­ing.” Mel­ton said.

Even­tu­ally, Mel­ton reg­is­tered to be on the kid­ney donor list at Johns Hop­kins Hos­pi­tal and Ge­orge­town Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal.

To get on both lists, he had to get eval­u­ated, take a classes about get­ting a transplant and then make sure his blood work and weight were at a cer­tain level.

For ev­ery transplant list that Mel­ton wanted to be on, he had to go through that process.

He was on the Johns Hop­kins Hos­pi­tal list for three years and the Ge­orge­town Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal list for three months.

Un­ex­pect­edly, Ge­orge­town Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal called him say­ing they found a match for a kid­ney transplant.

It took him two to three hours to get there af­ter the call.

Doc­tors per­formed the transplant, and it was suc­cess­ful.

Ac­cord­ing to Mel­ton, even though he is no longer on dial­y­sis, he still has to take 10 to 15 pills twice a day to make sure his lev­els are nor­mal, but it was worth it.

“My ad­vice to any­one who is fac­ing a dif­fi­cult health sit­u­a­tion is to col­lect all the in­for­ma­tion that is needed, get sup­port from your loved ones and take ac­tion to save your life,” Mel­ton said.

This is Mel­ton’s first time rap­pelling, al­though he is scared he knows it is for a good cause.

For more on the Na­tional Kid­ney Foun­da­tion, visit http://www.kid­


Donne Mel­ton par­tic­i­pated in a fundraiser to pre­vent kid­ney dis­ease.

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