INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis transplant patient started the year with gratitude and a mission to help others.
Laykin and Joey Silva had a lot to celebrate in 2021. They celebrated their one-year anniversary and Joey's second chance at life. In 2019 Joey randomly took his blood pressure inside a retail store and found out something was seriously wrong.
"I checked it and it was 160 over 110," said Joey.
Lab work later pinpointed the area of concern.
"When my labs came back, my PCP called me and told me, 'You need to get to the ER or be admitted to the hospital.' I said, 'What's going on?' He said, 'I can't tell for sure, but your labs are way out of whack and look like your kidneys are not functioning as they should be,'" said Joey.
At 25 years old, Joey was developing stage 4 kidney disease. By May 2021, it reached stage 5 and he was on dialysis and needed a kidney transplant. He was one of over 91,000 people in the U.S. waiting for a kidney transplant.
"It makes you think, 'How am I ever going to be the one picked for that?'" said Joey.
He and Laykin got married while he was going through advanced kidney failure and waiting for a miracle.
"There were really times where I was like, 'This really sucks. Why do I have to deal with this?' [Looking] at the positives and the light at the end...was how I handled it," said Joey.
That light at the end of the tunnel shined brighter when his wife was tested and found out she was a perfect match and decided to become his living kidney donor. They had the lifesaving operation in October 2021 at IU Health University Hospital.
It was a priceless wedding gift.
"When you get to see the person you donate to live out their life it's 100 percent worth it," said Laykin.
Now that he has recovered from the successful surgery, Joey is encouraging other people to get themselves checked out.
"Doing simple things like checking your blood pressure or going to yearly checkups and getting lab work done. All of that stuff is important because they can find so much stuff on that bloodwork that you might not have known otherwise," said Joey.
And after a tense year, the happy couple walked into the New Year with a new perspective and ready for anything.
"Things like this kind of put life in perspective a little bit more," said Joey. "Don't take things for granted. Appreciate your time and spend all that time with family and loved ones you care about."
For more information on kidney disease or to learn about transplant donations, click here.