An army veteran, in need of a kidney is asking the community for help. The Leesburg man is hoping someone out there might be a perfect match.
Retired First Sergeant, James Smith spent 27 years in the army, serving his country. Now he's the one who needs help.
"It's something I didn't expect and I wasn't prepared for," said Smith.
The Leesburg resident was put on a waiting list last month for a new kidney, after being diagnosed with renal disease.
"It came from a build up of enzymes on my kidney from taking blood pressure medication," said Smith. "I have been taking blood pressure medication for 25, 30 years, never realizing that the medication was causing a problem on my kidney."
A problem that left him shocked.
"As I took my physicals over the years coming up, I didn't have a problem. Then all of a sudden I got a big problem."
For nearly a year Smith has been on home dialysis. He hooks up to this machine at 8 pm every night.
"It's had a tremendous impact on me, because normally the things that I'm use to doing on a daily basis, like my hunting and fishing, I haven't been able to do," explained Smith.
No one in his family is a match, which means he could have to wait years for a transplant.
"For my blood type, which is type O, Georgia has about a 48 month waiting period."
Smith is now asking his community for help. "If you're out there and you have O type blood and you have a kidney that you want to share with me, I'm waiting, I'm ready for it."
Smith reminds people that you only need one kidney to live and there are no medical costs to donate.
If you're interested in being a donor, call Smith at 229-343-2157.
For more information about becoming a living donor, click on one of the links below.