Giving thanks: Man with polycystic kidney disease waits, grateful for those who may help him one day

Posted at 4:10 PM, Nov 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-24 21:27:01-05

CINCINNATI -- For Ralph Beach, even Thanksgiving doesn't bring a holiday from the treatment keeping him alive.

He spends 10 hours a day on dialysis while he waits for a possible kidney transplant. A normal, healthy kidney is about the size of a fist; Beach's doctors said his are the size of footballs. He has polycystic kidney disease, a hereditary condition.

"It causes cysts to grow in your kidneys, and over time, as the cysts grow bigger and bigger, your kidneys shut down and no longer function," he said.

The wait list for a kidney donation is at least five years, time Beach isn't sure he'll have. He's gotten more than 90 responses from possible donors since putting up yard signs asking for help, but he hasn't found a match yet.


"I've had updates from several people who called me and they've gone for blood work testing, which is a big step in the process," he said.

As he spent another holiday waiting for word, he was surrounded by family -- and he said he's thankful for those not around his table but who could end up giving him the ultimate gift.

"I'm very hopeful that next year I'll be celebrating Thanksgiving and not having to do dialysis," he said.

If you're interested in seeing if you might be a match and could donate to Beach -- or someone else in need of a kidney -- visit his website.