Chapter One: Diagnosis
Chapter Two: Donor?
Chapter Three: Dialysis
Chapter Four: Transplant
Chapter Five: Recovery
From My Lens
 Chapter One: Diagnosis

I was 7 years old when I was diagnosed with Alport's Syndrome, an inherited kidney disease I received from my mother's side of the family. This rare disorder (2 in 10,000) causes kidney failure and usually develops in people between adolescence and age 40.

Of those diagnosed with Alport's, fewer still develop kidney problems as a result. My mother, Terri, and sister, Allison, also have Alport's, but chances are, because they are women, they will not develop symptoms of the disease. My grandfather died at age 39 from kidney failure related to Alport's. It struck me in 1998 when I was 26.

I was diagnosed by biopsy, after which my life changed little. I grew up mostly with my mother, but consider my home to be both in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, with her, and in Columbus, Ohio, where my father lives. I graduated from Grosse Pointe South High School and moved on to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, from 1991 to 1996, where I graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

While in school, I completed internships at the Columbus Dispatch, the Muskegon Chronicle and the Quad-City Times. Following school, I joined the photo staff at the Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

During this time, I went to a nephrologist every two years for tests, and that was about it. My impending health problem never got in the way of my career goal, which is lucky as photojournalism is an extremely demanding profession. I do not have a desk or really any place to call my own at the paper. There is no reason for one; I am never there. I go to work every day, pick up my assignments and hit the streets or the fields or the court (with 20-30 pounds of camera gear). Any day can find me waist-deep in flood waters, flying in a helicopter or on the sidelines of a sporting event.

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