Looking for a ‘chance at life’: Albany couple pleading for living kidney donor to keep husband alive

Updated: Jan. 20, 2020 at 4:57 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - An Albany couple is pleading with the community in hopes of finding a living kidney donor.

A new kidney is the only thing that will save Michael Knowles’ life.

The couple welcomed WALB into their home, full of framed pictures of Michael and Bianca Knowles, his wife.

"He was working full time, I was working full time. We were just your all American married couple,” Bianca said.

Pictures were taken to celebrate their 10 year wedding anniversary — not knowing Michael would be hospitalized after a heart attack the very next day.

“When you get married, you take vows. For better or for worse. In sickness and in health,” Bianca said.

Michael was diagnosed with stage four renal failure a year ago. Now, he spends three days a week for at least three-and-a-half hours each time in dialysis.

“When he first started this journey, because he was in the hospital, they had to do it three days back to back and it was hard on his body. He was like, at that point, if this is something that I’ve got to do, then I don’t want to live,” said Bianca.

Michael Knowles in the hospital.
Michael Knowles in the hospital.(Source: Knowles Family)

Emotionally and physically grueling, dialysis has changed the Knowles’ lives in a way they never expected.

“We’ve adapted and we’re overcoming. That’s our prayer. That we can have a quote on quote normal, everyday life,” Bianca said.

Bianca and Michael explained dialysis takes so much out of him, they really can’t do anything else the three days a week he goes.

The only way they could go back to a more normal life is if Michael gets a new kidney.

“If we could get a kidney, that would certainly give me a chance at life,” said Michael.

Eventually, dialysis won’t be enough for Michael to survive.

There are more than 95,000 people waiting for a kidney right now.

Michael and Bianca are praying for a living kidney donor.

“You can live with only one kidney. The actual procedure is no cost to the donor. And they’re in the hospital, maybe two days,” Bianca said.

She explained that the recovery time for the one donating is just a couple weeks. It’s much harder on the recipient, who will have to stay in the hospital and continuously take anti-rejection medication.

A new kidney is Michael’s chance at a longer life — free from a dialysis machine.

“I wouldn’t be weak all the time, and I could certainly do a lot more,” Michael said.

Bianca’s learned how to care for Michael because she says he’s never stopped taking care of her, the two demonstrating faith and love like no other.

“We’ve had our journey. And if I had to go through this with anyone, I’d rather it be him," Bianca said.

Michael and Bianca Knowles pose for couple photos.
Michael and Bianca Knowles pose for couple photos.(Source: Knowles Family)

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