For the first time in months, Krystal Reardon says she has hope for her future

By Jason Duaine Hahn
September 26, 2018 03:39 PM
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Credit: Courtesy Krystal Reardon

For the first time in months, Krystal Reardon has hope for her future.

While the 44-year-old mother of two has had nearly lifelong problems with her kidneys, she was able to live normally for the last three decades — until suffering a heart attack last year.

When she later underwent tests at the hospital, doctors told her that the contrasting dye they would use for her scans could potentially harm her kidneys. But the dye had a much more damaging effect than Reardon ever could have anticipated. Weeks after her heart attack, both of her kidneys began to fail.

“My cardiac doctor told me, ‘You can live without kidneys but you can’t live without a heart,’ so, we went ahead and did it,” Reardon, from Augusta, Maine, tells PEOPLE. “But the dye ruined my kidneys, and they lost all function.”

With her organs failing, Reardon’s family members quickly got tested to see if they could be possible donors. They were each deemed not to be viable candidates, however. Reardon was soon placed on a transplant list, and told that the wait could take as long as four to six years — valuable time she may not have.

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Reardon’s signs
| Credit: Courtesy Krystal Reardon

Not being the type to ask for help, Reardon came up with an idea.

“After that, I was like, ‘Great, what do I do now?’ I thought about it for a couple of months, because, it would hard for me to ask someone that I don’t know for a kidney,” Reardon, a nurse at a local hospital, says. “But, I decided that I was going to put myself out there and see what I get — and I wasn’t expecting to get too much!”

Nearly a week ago, Reardon set up a series of signs outside of her yard and along a busy street in her neighborhood, which, when read together, say, “Kidney Donor Needed, Would You Consider?” Her contact information is included on the final sign. She says the response to the signs has been incredible so far.

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“It’s been very overwhelming, I have lost count of people who have offered to be tested to donate their kidney for me!” she explains. “I still feel kind of weird about it, but I feel surprised and overjoyed that there are people out there that would actually donate a body part to a stranger that needed it. It just blows me away.”

At least a dozen people have committed to being tested to find out if they can be donor, she says. And if they don’t turn out to be a match, many have said they’re willing to be a donor for someone else. Thanks to Reardon’s signs, other people may have their lives saved as well.

Reardon has been on dialysis since February as she waits for a match to be found, but she is filled with hope and excitement to see that people she has never met would line up to help her.

“I actually do have a sense of hope,” she says, “and I’m just so happy that there are really good people out there.”