[by Chris Erikson]
My younger brother Thomas was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease over 10 years ago. As a young man, he learned about the disease and how to manage it the best he could through high school and college, but ultimately, he would need a new kidney and the transplant would be needed sooner than later.
My family had a Plan A - our father, Chris Erikson, would donate his kidney to Thomas. Unfortunately due to unrelated medical issues, our dad was denied that chance. It was a tough moment for everyone but we came together and continued down the path. Both my brother Robbie and I were tested and found to be matches. We then held the most epic "Rock, Paper, Scissors" match in history. Just kidding. We left it up to the medical professionals to decide I was a slightly better match at the time and everything was set.
So over 2 years ago on July 27, 2017 I was lucky enough to be able to donate a kidney to my younger brother Thomas. I would hate to understate the seriousness of the procedure and the hard work done by so many people throughout the process and procedure, but it was as simple and easy as it could have been. Considering the circumstances, how easy the preparation and operation was, and the fact that I will continue to live a healthy life, I would do it again in a heartbeat.
We are now forever connected in a way only few people can know and I couldn't be happier about my decision. My brother Thomas has been living a healthy and fruitful life since the transplant and will continue to do so for a long, long time.
So many millions of people are affected by kidney disease and yet it doesn't get the attention it deserves. Please support organizations and programs that are making a difference everyday - raising awareness of the disease and the availability of free testing, growing the support networks for people and families affected, and increasing advocacy efforts on behalf of patients and their families.
At the 2018 NYC Kidney Walk Chris Erikson and Chris Erikson Jr served as chairmen and were able to help raise over $1 million for the first time in the organization's history, with over $275,000 coming from Local 3 members, employers, vendors, friends, and family.