Positive Connections: Former Kansas EMT puts plea on social media, can you donate a kidney?

Positive Connections

HAYSVILLE, Kan. (KSNW) – A former EMT and EMS lieutenant is hoping the power of social media will help save his life.

“It’s kind of hard to ask for something like that. It’s a big ask,” said Shawn Lamm.

Lamm, 45, was diagnosed with chronic renal failure several years ago. However, it wasn’t until late 2018 when things took a turn for the worst.

“I hadn’t realized it had gotten to where it was. I kept gaining weight, kept gaining more weight. I didn’t realize it was fluid weight,” Lamm explained. “They end up pulling 40 pounds of fluid off me that week I was in the hospital. I was going into congestive heart failure and stuff like that, so that’s when I figured out it was end-stage and my kidneys weren’t working anymore.”

Lamm was forced to medically retire from Mulvane EMS in January of 2019, ending a 22-year career.

“I wasn’t ready to give it up yet, but I didn’t really have a choice in the matter,” he said.

Around his medical retirement, Lamm started going to dialysis for about four hours, three times a week.

“They told me when I first started, it would be like running a marathon, and that’s what it feels like when you are done. You are just completely wiped out and exhausted,” Lamm explained.

The father of five said the exhaustion hit an all-time high. He said trying to keep up with his children, who range from 2 years old to a high school student, is becoming more and more difficult. It’s one of the main reasons why he recently asked for a kidney on social media.

“I wouldn’t be asking if I didn’t have my kids. That’s why I am doing it. If it was just me, then I would just take the course and go with it, but my kids are young, and I really want to be around for them and do things with them and stuff like that,” Lamm said.

No one in Lamm’s family is a donor match. He said he is desperate to find a donor as he begins his fourth year of dialysis.

“The transplant center when you first get on they ask if you have any living donor options, which I didn’t and they recommended that you ask around. I was like, ‘really, you go ask people for a kidney, that’s kind of crazy.’ I didn’t do it for a long time. I didn’t feel comfortable with it, but now, that time keeps going it’s becoming that I need to do it for my kids,” Lamm said.

Lamm has been on the kidney transplant list for about a year. It took him two years to get healthy enough to be put on the list. He said if he does not get a new kidney soon, he may be forced to do dialysis five to seven days a week. He said he is hopeful someone will answer his call on social media.

“If that is something you are willing to give a gift like that to somebody, that would be amazing. I would be very appreciative, and I have done a lot of hard work to get to where I am at now,” he said.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can help Lamm, he asked those serious about the process to email him at shawn.lamm@yahoo.com.

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