(WEAU) - It's been four and a half years since Shane Schernitz from Stanley started waiting for a kidney transplant.
With odds against him, he hopes to receive a transplant soon through a donation chain called a “Paired Donor Exchange.”
"Every day I pray that I wake-up," said Shane Schernitz, who needs a kidney.
30-year-old Shane Schernitz never thought he'd see his next birthday after he was diagnosed with Goodpasture's disease, which caused him to lose function in both kidneys at 18 years-old.
"It was scary. I didn't want to tell them. It was December 24 of 2000 that my dad was in the room with me and seen I was coughing up blood," said Shane.
After undergoing treatment to keep him alive, another miracle came three years later.
"About 2 weeks before, we got a phone call that my stepdad was a match, wasn't a perfect match but he was a match," said Shane.
But Shane rejected that kidney and needs another match.
"My goal is to get a kidney transplant by the end of the year and I've been saying that the last four years," said Shane.
"We encourage people to look for a transplant, especially if they're young, because it does give the greatest opportunity to achieve a pretty similar quality of life," said Dr. William Maierhofer, Nephrologist at Mayo Health Clinic System.
The only thing keeping Shane alive now is dialysis, which Shane's doctor William Maierhoffer says can keep a person alive for 20 to 30 year because it filters his blood like a kidney should.
Shane says he goes to the Mayo Clinic Dialysis center to use this machine for treatment about 12 hours a week, which rounds out to be 48 hours a month and about 600 hours a year.
Their transplant coordinator says a person with A+ blood type usually waits 6-8 months for a kidney.
However Shane's body has 98% rejection rate meaning friends and family aren't an option and his wife isn't either.
"I should be the one to be able to donate because he is my life. Without him getting a transplant there really is nothing else for me," said Mary.
It was then recommended he try a "Paired Donor Exchange" which Dr. Maierhoffer has seen done locally.
"If a relative is blood type A, and the potential recipient is blood type B that might not work. But if the donor can be paired up with a recipient who is the same blood type; then you can have the A blood types transplanted and the two blood type b transplants occur."
The family is on the national paired exchange list. Therefore all they can do now is wait.
"Sometimes it’s challenging when I'm by myself, when I have those late nights and I can't sleep and he's already asleep," said Mary.
But hope remains after a world record donation chain was completed a few months ago, involving 30 kidney transplants across 11 states.
"Many people who've donated a kidney say it’s one of the most wonderful things they've ever done in their life," said Maierhoffer.
"I have to stay positive. Every time I look at this guy he's always smiling," said Mary.
To keep spirits high, the Schernitz family started a Facebook page called the "Miracle Kidney” that has people from California to countries overseas asking if they can donate a kidney.
"Whether I get a kidney or not this is what is important to me is letting people know that there are people out there like me who do deserve a chance at life and we just ask that you open your heart and become a donor. Be someone's hero," said Shane.
If you wish to contact Mary and Shane, click below for the Facebook Group.