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'I will be able to help somebody else': Mercer alum on transplant wait list dreams of becoming a doctor

Bhavan Patel got diagnosed with kidney failure in 2019.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — A Mercer alum got diagnosed with kidney failure in 2019. He's still looking for a kidney transplant to help him one day pursue his dreams of becoming a doctor.

"In this moment, I have no idea what it means to me, but I hope that it means the world to me when I do get it because they will allow me to pursue a career and a life that I don't have right now," said Bhavan Patel.

During a 2019 internship, Patel received life-changing news. As part of the program, he acted as a patient for medical students learning routine skills.

While the students took turns checking Patel's blood pressure, the readings kept getting higher and higher. He then scheduled a doctor's appointment.

"My nephrologist told me and my dad, 'Hey, this is definitely kidney failure. You are already at that point.' They told me I shouldn't even be walking," said Patel.

Soon after, he started dialysis. He does it every night through a machine. His treatments have now increased from nine to 12 hours because his kidney function has decreased.

"At first I didn't like it. God, why did it have to be me? I didn't want to go through that process. When you go through it, you realize you can't think like that. If it's not me, it would be somebody else. I didn't want it to be somebody else," he said.

Patel graduated from Mercer in May 2021 with a degree in biochemistry and molecular biology. Despite his health struggles, he still has hopes of becoming a nephrologist or a transplant surgeon.

"When you see other people going through their struggles and going through that, I just wish that I could take away their troubles as well because I know what it's like being down there. It's not a good place to be," he said.

Through all this, Patel just wants to help others.

"I keep thinking of the end goal. One day I will not be here, I will be able to help somebody else in this situation. That just gets me through it," he said.

Right now, he's still on the Emory University's kidney transplant wait list.

If you're considering becoming a kidney donor for Patel, you would need to start out by going to the Emory Transplant Center website and filling out the survey.

If you pass that screening, you will be directed through a medical evaluation process to determine if you can donate and if your kidney is a match for Patel.

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