Best friends make life saving decision after kidney disease diagnosis

In the United States, almost 115,000 people are on transplant lists waiting for organs. About 95,000 of these need kidneys.

Man donates kidney to best friend

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -A Charlotte man who had been battling kidney disease is on the road to recovery after an amazing gift from his best friend.

In 2013, Matt Barefield was diagnosed with a kidney disease that can ultimately lead to kidney failure.

“My doctor said, this is going to wind up in a kidney transplant. I don’t know when. It could be in 5 years. It could be in 10 years,” said Barefield.

At Matt’s diagnosis, his kidneys were functioning at about 60 percent and at one point got to as low as 5 percent. He had been on dialysis since February 2018. His name was also added to the national transplant list

“There are so many people on that list. There is probably a hundred thousand people on that list at any given time,” said Barefield.

According to Atrium Health, a living kidney donor is a patient’s best chance but it is hard to find the right match.

“A lot of things have to be done in order to donate a kidney,” said Barefield.

After Matt and his wife reached out and talked to about a dozen people, no match was found. That is, until Barry Teague.

Matt and Barry met in 2004 while working in auto sales up in Statesville. They became good friends and traveled for work together often.

“My buddy needs a kidney. There is something I can do. I can do something,” said Teague. “I knew right then and felt it in my heart.”

Teague had a conversation with his wife and the decision was made to move forward with testing. That proved to be a great match for what Matt needed.

“I never once thought about backing up and saying, ‘I don’t want to do this,’” said Teague. “Yes it affects me, but does it shorten my life? No.”

Last Wednesday, the two underwent surgery and Barry’s kidney was placed inside of Matt.

“I feel good. I feel much better,” said Barefield as doctors confirm his kidney function is improving daily.

For Teague, he is still in his 40′s and says he has been asked whether he will regret the decision later in life. Some have asked him what will happen if his son one day needs a kidney?

“I am huge believer in, ‘we are not promised tomorrow.’ We do not know what is going to happen tomorrow. And guess what? My son is 4-and-half-years-old and he didn’t need a kidney today. Matt did.”

Twenty people die every day waiting for a transplant. Register to become an organ donor today. And consider the possibility of becoming a living donor as well. Learn more here.

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