By Katelyn Engel, NKF Program Manager
Hayley and Tim met online in 2013. The relationship started out pretty uneventfully. But a few months after they started dating things changed. “He did not tell me he had kidney problems when I first met him. In January 2014 I saw him struggling. On January 11th he texted me to tell me he was in the hospital. I asked him where he was and drove there immediately. When I got there I found that they had placed a port in his chest for dialysis.” Hayley said.
“At the time, I had never been around someone with kidney issues. I had no idea what it all entailed. I stayed in the hospital with him when he was first dialyzed and it was an eye opening, terrifying experience. I couldn't leave him like that. I cared for him too much to walk away,” said Hayley.
For 6 months she drove Tim to dialysis three days a week. Eventually she decided to start the process of being tested for kidney donation. “I searched for information online and tried to learn as much as I could about the kidney donation process. In May of 2014, I received a call from the University of Minnesota telling me I was a match for Tim and that they wanted to schedule a transplant date.” A perfect match, 1 in 100,000.
On June 25th, 2014, Tim received Haley’s left kidney. “I immediately felt better, I didn’t feel like I was dying. I didn’t have to go to dialysis anymore and I was given more time to enjoy my life,” Tim said.
“We both recovered fast. Kidney donation has been the best gift I have ever given someone. To see this man that was so sick for so long be happy and start enjoying life again, that was one of the most incredible moments in my life. If I had more kidneys to give I would do it over and over again,” Haley said.
On June 21st, 2015 Tim and Haley got married. They continued to share their story and raise awareness to kidney donation. Team Dougall spoke that year at the NKF Minnesota Kidney Walk.
In 2016, Tim and Haley were expecting their first baby. When Haley was 20 weeks pregnant, an ultrasound revealed possible health problems and was sent to doctors for further review. For weeks doctors looked and monitored and they discovered the baby had only 1 developing kidney. “We were told her outlook was not good, they didn’t know what was wrong or why her left kidney never developed,” Haley said.
Tim and Haley were told that if their daughter survived birth, she may not live long after. The possibility of dialysis and kidney failure were concerns. “We were obviously heartbroken and we felt so lost," said Tim. Thankfully, on September 1, 2016 Piper was born healthy with one functioning kidney. “Piper has beaten a lot of obstacles and she amazes us every day,” Haley said. As Piper gets older there will be more tests to learn about her condition. In the meantime, this family remains strong and hopeful.
"We are a family of fighters. We have gone full circle with it, kidney failure, kidney donation, kidney transplant, and our daughter being born with kidney disease. This year, we renamed our Kidney Walk team from “Team Dougall” to “We’re All Right.” Because we all three have one functioning right kidney.” Hayley says, “We have gone to the Kidney Walk for 3 years now and we’re excited to go back this year for our daughter.”