Torresdale native Kevin Brighter received a kidney 11 months after his started failing.
The Brighter family said they would move forward one step a time, and they did. Now, their march has reached a happy conclusion.
Kevin Brighter, who has been searching for a new kidney since last December with the support of his family, received the organ Nov. 1.
“We are still in disbelief,” his mother Maura said.
Maura and Kevin’s father, Kevin Sr., received a phone call from Penn Medicine saying it had found a potential match. The match was found through the National Kidney Registry from someone the family never met who lives in Minnesota.
The parents hesitated to tell Kevin and his sister, Grace, about the operation until it had a set date. It was pushed back from its original Oct. 10 date due to both Kevin and the donor getting sick.
“It was nerve wracking, especially after what happened in May,” Maura said.
It’s been a long journey for the Brighters. Maura was initially prepared to donate her kidney in May, until tests revealed his body would reject her blood. This left them on a search Maura described as “finding a needle in a haystack.”
The community banded together to help Kevin. In September, St. Hubert Catholic School hosted a volleyball game to raise awareness for Kevin and Gift of Life.
The Brighters were able to secure a kidney because Maura is offering her kidney to the program. She will undergo an operation within a few weeks.
“I’d like to thank my entire family for being so strong during this time in my life,” Kevin said over email. “I know it wasn’t easy with all the ups and downs throughout the last year. I’d especially like to thank my mom for entering the swap program with me to give me this opportunity to live a normal life again.”
He also thanked his father for the faith he had, his sister for their close relationship, his cousin Mary for helping them with the swap program and his neighbors who stood beside him.
Kevin is a junior studying Integrated Science Business and Technology at La Salle University. He said he is looking forward to going back next semester and living life to the fullest. ••