“Your son is in kidney failure, oh he’s only got one kidney“ | Newport teen in need of a kidney donor

Life was normal for 19-year-old Patrick Scott Velez, and then he found out he was born with only one kidney and that it was failing.
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 7:29 PM EDT
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NEWPORT, Tenn. (WVLT) - A Newport teen needs a kidney to stay alive. Life was normal for 19-year-old Patrick Scott Velez, and then he found out he was born with only one kidney and that it was failing.

Velez said he felt sick last October and went to the doctor for a COVID-19 test.

The test came back negative, but what doctors told he and his mother Jennifer Velez next changed everything.

“One day you’re fine and then the next day you’re at a hospital with them telling you you’re son’s in kidney failure and then they find out ‘Oh he’s only got one kidney, did y’all know that?’ We had no idea, no idea,” shared Jennifer.

Velez, a racecar driver, said doctors told him he was in stage three kidney failure, and the one kidney was functioning at just 17%.

Since his diagnosis, he said he has been unable to work, and becomes easily dehydrated. He’s currently waiting on a kidney donor.

“So we’re on the living donor and deceased donor lists. So I could get a call saying, ‘Ok, we’ve got a kidney for you. You need to get to UT Knoxville right now.’ Or, ‘We’ve found the right person. We are going to schedule an appointment and get this transplant done,” said Patrick.

His parents said they were unable to be donors for their son, but they’re hoping he will find a match soon so that he can continue doing what he loves, which is driving racecars.

“My future, I really want to pursue future racing. You know, it’s one of them things that my family’s done in the past. I want a full-time living out of it. Then race in higher stakes and all that. Even late models and stuff like that. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and that’s a goal I really want to achieve,” said Velez

Jill Grandas, the executive director of Tennessee Donor Services, said the state tends to have a great track record for organ donation, but more donors are always needed.

”In the United States, there are over 106,000 patients waiting for some type of transplant. About 85% of those patients are waiting for a kidney. And the other percent is waiting on heart, liver, lung, and pancreas transplants. In Tennessee, about 3,000 patients are waiting for some type of organ transplant, and almost 90% of those patients are waiting for a kidney here in our state,” explained Grandas.

Velez is on a donor list at UT Medical Center, if you would like to sign up to see if you could be a possible donor for him or someone else on the list, you are asked to call Living Donor Coordinator Lanny Martin at the Center for Transplant Services at 865-305-5340.

The Velez family also set up a GoFundMe page. To find out more about organ donations and how to become a donor click here to learn more about #BeTheGift.

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