Chris Cunningham hasn’t been a part of the ITD family for too long — he started working here just three years ago — but he is extremely grateful for the love and support from the department as he faces advanced kidney failure.
“My condition is Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) — it causes cysts to grow on your kidneys,” Chris explained. “It an inherited disease, and has no known cure or treatment. “
His brother went to the hospital with severe back pain when Chris was 16 and was diagnosed with PKD. Doctors recommended Chris be tested for it, too, which confirmed that Chris had also inherited the disease from his father.
“My kidneys have failed further over the last few years and the function has decreased significantly. I started dialysis two years ago. Since then, I have had about 13 surgeries related to my condition.”
Chris has end-stage kidney renal failure. For the past two years, he has been working on getting a kidney transplant. His sister, Cara, has been tested and she’s a match. Still, funding stands in the way.
“I will have to live in Salt Lake City, Utah for six weeks and insurance doesn’t cover housing, food or travel,” Chris explained.
“Thankfully, our insurance will cover a large portion of the surgeries and medicine,” said his wife, Diane. “ However, Chris will be on anti-rejection medication for the duration of his life and we will have to visit Salt Lake on a frequent basis the first year and then sporadically the rest of his life. While this is a complete miracle and blessing, the travel, medicine and surgeries have taken a very heavy toll on our finances, with many more expenses to come. We are asking our community, friends, family and loved ones to help ease the toll if they can.”
If you or someone else may be able to help, or just wants more information, please visit this site.
Cunningham started as a Transportation Tech in the Caldwell maintenance shed in early 2017 and was promoted to be one of the two equipment trainers about 18 months ago.
“ITD has helped so much and supported me throughout my journey,” Chris said. “I’m eternally grateful. ITD really is a family.”