This is Gene.
Gene has PKD.
He needs a kidney.

A day in the life
with big dumb kidneys.

What is PKD?

PKD stands for polycystic kidney disease. It’s a genetic disease that causes uncontrolled growth of cysts in the kidney, eventually leading to kidney failure. A typical kidney is the size of a human fist and weighs about a third of a pound. In people with PKD, kidneys can be much larger, some growing as large as a football, and weighing many pounds each. Mine are even larger and quite possibly the largest. They may be big, but they’re not strong. Normal kidneys function at very high levels, but mine currently function at 18%. Typically, the need for a transplant becomes urgent when kidneys function at 15%. When it comes to my kidneys, time is running out…

Become a Donor

What difference would a kidney transplant make for Gene?

Kidney transplant is a major surgery with a phased recovery period. Still, when compared to dialysis, kidney transplant offers people like Gene the opportunity for a longer, healthier, and more satisfying life. A kidney transplant enables people to enjoy basic aspects of life that many of us take for granted:

Freedom from dialysis

Not having to be connected to a machine, typically three days a week, to live


Being able to keep a normal job and be productive in all aspects of life


The ability to eat normal food


Having a kidney means no fluid restrictions


A newly donated kidney would make it possible for Gene to return to a normal, healthy lifestyle


Ability to pursue normal relationships without dialysis taking control


The ability to work a normal job and travel as needed to see family

Become a Hero

Gene is looking for a hero who is willing to donate a kidney. Some of the benefits to becoming a living kidney donor include:

Knowing you are giving Gene his life back, making it possible for him to help other people

Peace of mind that living kidney donors thrive with one kidney, just as they did with two kidneys

All hero kidney donors go to the very top of the list if they ever were to need a kidney themselves

Guaranteed compensation for any time from work, including your recovery

Medicare coverage for kidney-related health needs – for life

Are there other options?

Well, there’s dialysis. While it can save lives, it comes at a cost.

Dialysis is a method to keep you alive long enough to find a living donor kidney. Dialysis is confining and inconvenient. Patients are tethered to a machine for three-to four-hour sessions in a clinic, typically three times per week. Dialysis is exhausting for patients and fraught with morbidity and eventual mortality.

In fact, 40% of people who start dialysis die within five years.

Meet Gene’s Big Dumb Kidneys


We all need a helping hand. View a list of some of these great organizations.