Kidney Transplant Recipient Uses Experience to Help Others
David Jacobs’ family knows all too well the devastation of polycystic kidney disease. He lost his brother and father to the disease, which is the #1 genetic cause of kidney failure and affects 70,000 individuals in California alone.
Impact of PKD on Family
"PKD has been more than given to my family,” explains David, a 50-year old San Francisco father of four. Given his family’s history of the disease, David put off dialysis as long as possible. He was leading an active life as a technology executive at organizations including Microsoft, Marimba and Macromedia.
When David’s BUN neared 100 and his creatinine level rose to the double digits, David realized he had no choice but to plan for the future. “I educated myself about options, but unfortunately there weren’t many: do nothing, go on dialysis, or get a transplant,” says David, who pursued hemodialysis.
During his three years on dialysis, David experienced first-hand the suffering that accompanies such a lifestyle. He explains, “You are certainly with your brothers in arms during dialysis. The good side is that your brothers are there fighting with you; the bad side is that some of your soldiers don’t make it and that’s rough.” David, who had been a triathlete in the 1980s and 1990s, saw his weight drop to 130 pounds while on dialysis. He knew he needed a transplant and ultimately wanted to help others to find a way out of dialysis.
After trying different kidney transplant programs, David chose California Pacific Medical Center following a conversation with Medical Director Steven Katznelson, M.D. “You could really tell that he cares about his patients, and he took the time to address all of my concerns based on previous experiences,” says David.
Neighbor and Friend is a Perfect Kidney Donor Match
David had several living donors who underwent evaluation at California Pacific. Ultimately, it was his neighbor and friend, Breyon, who proved a match and was adamant about wanting to help David. She explains, “My father died of kidney failure when I was five years old. I wanted to help in any way I could because I remembered how hard it was for me growing up without a father.”
David and Breyon underwent surgery in December 2004, which was deemed a success by all. “I can’t say enough about California Pacific’s Kidney Team,” says David. “They are real people as well as real doctors. I believe they are world-class.”
A Vow and Action to Help Others with Kidney Disease
Within three months of his kidney transplant, David discussed the particulars of a Kidney Paired Donation Program with Dr. Katznelson. Since 2005, they have been working together to develop a program that can offer patients with an incompatible living donor another option.
David’s software program, Silverstone Solutions’ Matchmaker™, was officially unveiled on February 14, 2007—the same day that two pairs underwent kidney transplants at California Pacific made possible by David’s computer program.
“My goal is to help thousands of people with kidney disease in the long-run,” explains David. “I’ve been pursuing this goal since my transplant because of the desperation I felt while waiting. I’m living a great life now—enjoying mountain biking, building software, being with my kids—and I want to help others with kidney disease as well.”