Eagleswood Firefighter Needs a Kidney
Allan Herdecker of Mystic Island spends 12 hours each week receiving dialysis treatments that filter toxins from his blood on behalf of his non-functioning kidneys, while he awaits the lifesaving gift of a kidney from a live donor.
From his mother he inherited polycystic kidney disease, which causes cysts to form in the kidneys, which causes the kidneys to enlarge. “It affects me big time,” he said, calling the disease “devastating” and “a life-changer.”
The diagnosis came three or four years ago, and since then the disease has advanced to the point where he has had to stop working at Shop Rite after 26 years.
“Doctors say I’m too young for this, that I need to get off the dialysis,” the 45-year-old said. Herdecker is a volunteer firefighter with the Eagleswood Volunteer Fire Co. and the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. He loves fishing and NASCAR.
The waiting list for a kidney transplant from a cadaver is four to six years, so his best bet is for a living donor to come forward. A kidney from a living donor has a higher long-term success rate.
Herdecker is currently receiving care through Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston.
In response to the growing crisis in renal transplantation as patients on the waiting list outnumber available organs, “the world-class Renal and Pancreas Transplant Division of Barnabas Health has created New Jersey’s first and only Living Donor Institute … designed to promote living donation as the best transplant option for patients with chronic kidney disease who are either on or approaching dialysis. Through the Institute, our team of surgeons, transplant physicians, nurse coordinators, dieticians, social workers and pharmacists is able to forge new opportunities for people who want to donate a healthy kidney to someone in need of a transplant.”
To connect with Herdecker and learn more about his disease and how to help, visit facebook.com/akidneyforAllan.
— Victoria Ford