Mom is rare match for son's kidney transplant after unexpected diagnosis

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A Michigan man learned he has kidney failure - but in a rare twist of fate he will get the gift of life from his mother.

"It is really the last thing you expect to hear, life threatening illness like that," says Austin Deweese.

It all started in 2015. Austin never realized he had strep throat. Left untreated, he unknowingly developed HSP, a disorder that causes inflammation and bleeding in the small blood vessels.

"I got some blood drawn on the orders of my primary care doctor," he says. "The very next day he called my mom and said your son is in kidney failure, we have to do something about it. She was obviously in a panic, it's not what you expect to hear."

Austin's life would be forever changed. 

After a lengthy hospital stay, the 22-year-old would be forced to undergo dialysis treatment three times a week for four hours.

The drummer would have to quit music school and move back in with his parents in their home in Monroe County. And the search for a kidney donor would begin.

Ironically, his mother, Shaundra, a long time O.R. nurse, had already applied to begin working at a dialysis center. She made the job change before her son was even diagnosed with kidney failure.

Two weeks after she started, and a day after Austin's 23rd birthday, the Deweese family received exciting news.

"When I made the one call they said it was negative. Immediately I was panicking because I thought it was a bad thing," she says. "They said no it's negative, that means it is good.  Because none of the antibodies reacted and you are a perfect match for your son."

Out of everyone who was tested, Shaundra learned she was the perfect match. A match, she was told by University of Michigan Hospital, is extremely rare. The surgery is scheduled for next month.

"It is very emotional knowing that I can help him," Shaundra said. "See him grow and get married and have kids, knowing I helped in that, is overwhelming."

"I am the caretaker," quipped father, Dennis Deweese. "We have a tremendous support group."

Dennis hasn't had it easy either. He is now in remission after battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

But as a police officer, he has always reminded people of the importance of donating their organs, a message that now hits even closer to home.

"Everybody should donate," Dennis says. "It is a matter of life or death for somebody. Obviously there's tragic events and people lose their lives and that person could help somebody after they pass is an amazing thought. If more people would donate, the wait wouldn't be five years."

Because of his mom, Austin won't have to be on that list. He is grateful for all of the love and support he has received from everyone. He is looking forward to getting back to his music and living his life.

"What can you say about it," he says. "A mom already gives your life one time and now she is giving me life twice."

It will be a long and costly road to recovery. A GoFundMe account has been set up online and there is a fundraiser from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 25 at Marlow's Bar on Telegraph in Brownstown. 
There will be a spaghetti dinner with 50/50 raffles and baskets that will be raffled.