He is not surprised that his kidneys are failing and — at age 20 — he has been approved for a kidney transplant.
“It isn’t easy to think about,” he said. “However, I know what I have to do to keep going. I don’t have time for a pity party and try to have an optimist view of my future. I take it one day at a time.”
Wes was a three-year-old when he contacted influenza B, which can attack any organ but affected his kidneys.
His parents, David and Cindy Easterwood, were told he could outgrow his ailment, which affected his body’s ability to fight off infection.
He remained in remission for the first seven or eight years and had his first major flair up when he was 16. He spent weeks between Floyd Medical and Scottish Rite Childrens Hospital under the care of Dr. Stephanie Jennigan. She did a kidney biopsy, regulated his medications and he was doing well.
In March of 2011, he returned for a check up and was diagnosed with progressive kidney failure. He had gone from 2.5 function to about 4. At 4.5 he is considered at kidney failure.
“We dismissed it with the thought that everything would be fine,” his mother said.
In July, he became very ill. At that time, his parents were told that he is in kidney failure and they needed to start making arrangements and continue follow up.
Dr. Hailu Demissachew at Harbin Clinic, Rome, GA, recommended that he be taken to Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. Wes is now able to sustain on medication without dialysis.
He was approved for a kidney transplant through Dr. Carlos Zayaz, chief transplant surgeon, Piedmont Hospital.
Possible donors could be friends or relatives that are near his age, but Ruben Galvan, his best friend, has volunteered to be first in line.
Meanwhile, plans are to raise funds on his behalf through Georgia Transplant Institute (GTI), which requires patients to take part in these events.
West must have a minimum of $2,500 and GTI will match it up to $10,000. The money will be used for his care after surgery. His medication can cost up to $3,000 per month.
Friends of Wes sponsored a recent car wash and raised about $900, which has been placed in an account opened in his name at Region’s Bank.
Sheena Gravett and Faith Benefield are planning fundraisers. More details on these events will be given at a later date.