Michael’s life began early when his mother was diagnosed with cancer while she was pregnant. He was born prematurely with many health concerns including chronic kidney disease. When he was 13 years old, blood tests revealed that his kidney was failing. Michael spent seven months on dialysis and was told he needed a kidney transplant - quickly. “I kind of freaked out, to be honest,” he explained. “It was just a normal day when my mom told me. I couldn’t really process it.”
Michael’s parents began reaching out to anyone that they could. “The doctors asked us if anyone was a potential donor in our family. We asked our entire family to get tested to see if they could be a match,” Adam explained. After a couple of weeks, incredible news reached the Reed household. Adam was a match for his son. “It was a relief. He had Stage 5 kidney disease. There is nothing that comes after that,” he said. Michael learned about the transplant process and was comforted by the fact that the kidney would be coming from his dad.
Later that year, Michael and Adam went through the transplant surgery. “He felt great after the surgery!” Adam laughed, “I knew I was going to feel bad. That was the way it was supposed to be!”
About a year later, Michael’s aunt helped their family get into contact with Make-A-Wish. Michael wished to go on the Oasis of the Seas Cruise. Michael, his parents, his siblings, and his cousin spent a week on board.
“We couldn’t have been treated any better,” Michael joked. “I don’t want to go on another cruise! I know it won’t ever compare!” This cruise was a celebration of Michael’s renewed health for his family. He was fully recovered and could spend his time under the sun surrounded by the people he loves.
Today, Michael advocates for organ donation. He speaks all around the New York area telling his story and spreading awareness. In 2017, Michael was given the President’s Volunteer Service Award for his community service efforts with the Stony Brook University Medical Center.
“I want to feel accomplished in life,” Michael explained, “And working with the hospital and participating in speaking engagements makes me feel like I have acquired that goal.” This year, Michael will be attending college and plans on pursuing a career in medicine, studying nephrology, the medical field that focuses on kidney disease. We wish him the best of luck!