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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

He's been on the kidney donor list for over 10 years. Now, the pandemic has made his wait even longer

This local man is on a donor list. If he contracts COVID-19 and a donor becomes available, he can’t get the kidney.

WASHINGTON — More than 90,000 Americans are waiting on a kidney transplant list, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Their studies have found that about 10 kidneys are thrown out every day, and for those waiting for a match, the coronavirus pandemic has made waiting even more challenging.

Rev. Dr. Lyle Pointer has been on the donor list for more than a decade. 

“It would mean the absolute world to me in, in every aspect. Because while I don't have much to complain about in life, I've been blessed with my family, the school, and the church and education, I have been very restricted on what I've been able to do,” Pointer said.

For more than a decade, three days a week, Pointer goes to dialysis because like thousands of others, he’s in dire need of a kidney transplant. 

“It's been a very tough 10 to 12 years where you just kind of want to be normal. And, you know, you might look normal, and seem normal, and still out there, you know, fighting but you kind of get tired of fighting after a while,” Pointer added.

At 23, a tired and exhausted Pointer found out he was in Stage 5 Renal Failure and needed a kidney immediately-- and he got one.

“That first year is a really sensitive time for a kidney and unfortunately, that one didn't make it,” Pointer said.

He still has no idea what led to his kidney failure and because he was adopted at birth, with no connection to his biological parents, genetic testing isn’t an option. The youth minister said faith has kept him sane while dealing with the unknowns and uncertainties of his future.

“It's been the only thing that sustained me. Without it, I probably would have lost my mind a long time ago,” Pointer added.

The pandemic has further limited his life. He’s on a living and deceased donor list, and if he contracts COVID-19 and a donor becomes available, he can’t get the kidney. So, he stays as safe as possible. Now, his hope is someone will consider getting tested to see if they’re a match.

“It would be amazing to find out what life would be like without those restrictions,” Pointer said.

About 17 people die each day waiting on an organ donor transplant, according to Organdonor.gov. Click here to learn how you can become a donor.