March is National Kidney Month aimed at shining a spotlight on kidney health and research for kidney disease.
In Raleigh, hometown Gold and Platinum musician, Jason Adamo, who's no stranger to the spotlight is doing just that as he prepares to receive a kidney transplant in April.
"It's a kind of a stars-aligning kind of thing," Adamo said.
Adamo is receiving a kidney from a living donor. He was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease in 2011.
"I was passing a lot of kidney stones and I went to the doctor they did a CT scan and found out I had Polycystic Kidney Disease which is just thousands of cysts on each kidney. It's about the size of a football. That's a rather large kidney. And they told me eventually I'd have to get a transplant," Adamo explained.
According to the PKD Foundation, PKD is a genetic disease (passed from an affected parent to their child) causing uncontrolled growth of cysts in the kidney eventually leading to kidney failure. While the disease affects all races and ethnicities equally, data suggests African Americans suffer worse outcomes due to delayed diagnosis, slower referrals to nephrology specialists than their white counterparts, and earlier progression to end-stage renal disease as a result.
There are two types of PKD: autosomal dominant PKD and autosomal recessive PKD. ADPKD is the more common type and affects more than 600,000 Americans and 12.4 million people worldwide. ARPKD is a rare form of the disease that occurs in 1 in 25,000 children worldwide.
Adamo's kidneys are currently functioning at ten percent and he's on the national list for a donor. But, it turns out, his neighbor's best friend was already in the process of getting tested to donate her kidney when she heard about and met Jason. She got tested and was a perfect match for him.
Her name is Jenna Kovacic, she worked for Ronald McDonald House many years ago, and she just saw a lot of kids on the donor list over the years. And, she felt a calling to want to do this
She was even the same blood type as me type O negative which is a rare blood type. My wife took it upon herself to then try to play matchmaker and find her a boyfriend. And, she did a very good job. They're in love and they're been dating for several months now.
So, she's giving me a kidney, we might give her a husband in return," Adamo joked.
The fundraiser is Sunday, April 2 from 3 pm to 8 pm at Zinc House Winery and Brewery in Durham.