According to organdonor.gov, 17 people die each day waiting on an organ transplant, and every nine minutes another person is added to the waitlist — which makes donors extremely important.
One Crosby kid is using his life changing story to influence people to do so.
Twenty-three-year-old Noah Knudson grew up like most other kids would here in the Peace Garden State.
“I was kind of a farm kid. My parents lived in town, but my uncle and my grandpa have a farm, so I was pretty much there every single day kind of off playing,” Knudson said.
Knudson says growing up he enjoyed playing hockey.
“I started playing hockey pretty much since kindergarten,” he said.
As the years went on he found himself playing on his high school team, but it was then that he began to notice something about himself just wasn’t right.
“When I kind of went into highschool, mainly sophomore year, I was off having hockey practice and I got done and I’m like I’m a little sore and I was like you know it’s just regular wear and tear of sports, but then all of a sudden the next day I wake up and I’m like that’s not normal,” Knudson said.
And after a visit to the doctor.
“Got some blood work. Something looked weird, so they sent me down to Minot to a different doctor there and they drew blood and some bloodwork came back showing kidney involvement,” Knudson said.
He says after many months of taking various medications and piling up miles on the family car visiting doctors as far as Minneapolis, he was officially diagnosed.
“I got this doctor that was about 7 years old and he was a main research doctor and I think he only took my case and he came in and he said I think you have a dual diagnosis, which is very, very, very weird, of IGA nephropathy and vasculitis,” he said.
Knowing what he was dealing with allowed him to cut back on medications for several years, allowing his life to get back to some sort of normalcy — but it wasn’t until his sophomore year of college that things began to flip upside down, again.
“I went to get bloodwork and they said something looks like we’ll need to get a biopsy and after the biopsy, my doctor calls me up and he says you should come down to the office and I was like that’s not good,” Knudson said.
Knudson was asked to get a kidney transplant.
And in about 48 hours…
“I went from normal college student going to classes to I need a transplant,” Knudson said.
He was immediately put on the donors list and the hunt for a new kidney was on.
“At that point, a Caring Bridge account was set up for me. My mom made a couple of Facebook posts. My sister-in-law made a Facebook post, my aunts, my uncles,” he said.
It wasn’t until a few months down the road that an actual match was found.
Zachariah Shipman, the pastor of his old church.
“Its a good feeling. For me, it’s a way for me to live out my faith,” Shipman said.
The two say it was something like a match made in heaven.
“Like I said, we didn’t really know each other too well, Noah and I, and we didn’t know his parents all that well and now we’re kind of like family now,” Shipman said.
During this journey, both Knudson and Shipman also confessed they were unaware that you could be a living donor and didn’t have to wait until you die to give up an organ, but now Knudson is using his story to help spread that message.
“The kidney is longer lasting when it comes from a living donor. There’s better results out there. It’s not great for the donor, you are getting something taking out, but you are giving someone their life back, you know,” Knudson said.
A second chance anyone would be appreciative of.
Knudson shared his message last week during a virtual event that the National Kidney Foundation and Sanford Health put on to teach people about being a living donor and the importance of it.
For more information on how you can make a change, click here.