NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Planners of this Saturday's first "Kidney Run" in Nacogdoches say, rain or shine, the awareness event will carry on. Individuals needing kidneys, along with their families, are facing far worse storms.
The hours of wait to finish a kidney dialysis treatment can seem endless. The machines drone without end.
The mechanical lifeline is one step away from another wait. More than 99,000 people are waiting, some for years, for a kidney transplant.
Steve Bush has waited since 2013. The 46-year-old is in stage 4 of renal failure disease brought on by high blood pressure. Steve's No. 1 advocate is his sister, Stacy Welch of Nacogdoches.
"He had kidney failure, and he would have to be on dialysis or get a transplant or eventually he would pass," Welch said.
It's the cold, hard facts doctors present to patients at this stage of the game.
"This is your second meeting, right?" a health care provider asked Eugenia Uribe, a kidney transplant candidate.
"Yes," Uribe said.
"So, this is going to be your financial meeting," the health care provider said.
Uribe, a Garrison high school teacher, is just now beginning her wait. The whirlwind of emotions has started.
"It's a scary process, yet I'm excited because it gives me hope for the future and to be able to be around with my family a little longer," Uribe said.
The family support is vital, but sometimes love alone can't bring the results they want.
"I tried to get tested," Welch said. "I failed twice which was heartfelt for me."
The desire to help makes young girls want to grow up fast.
"I want to donate my kidney when I get to 18 and donate it to my uncle because I love him very much," said Charly Thomas, Bush's niece.
In 2011, over 181,000 people were living with functional kidney transplants. Unfortunately the demand far exceeds the number of available donor organs.
Families are helping create awareness at this weekend's Kidney Run.
"Personally it's for my brother. He's our hero," Welch said. "He's our inspiration, but we're also running for others."
A kidney from a living donor may be Steve's and Eugenia's only hope for an extended life.