One Bradley County family shares a lot more than just a close bond, they also suffer from a life threatening condition, polycystic kidney disease also known as PKD.
William Lankford says "You know it's in the family, so don't accept it, fight it, trust God in everything."
Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder characterized by the growth of numerous cysts in the kidneys which results in reduced kidney function and eventually leads to kidney failure. When that happens, patients require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
That's what happened to Thomas Lankford, Williams younger brother.
Thomas Lankford says "It's a scary lifestyle.."
Thomas was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease just over ten years ago and went on dialysis this past October, a scenario his cousin hopes she won't have to face anytime soon.
Kathy Self says "With me I'm just praying everyday that God gives me a little big longer before I have to go on dialysis because I still have two small children at home."
The family has been able to trace the disease back to their grandmother. A total of 29 family members have been diagnosed with PKD. Very few have been able to escape it, and that's a big concern when it comes to the future generation.
William Lankford says "We all need to be checked."
Thomas Lankford says "You can't do things like a normal person can."
Some of the main symptoms of P-K-D are.
.•frequent kidney infections
•high blood pressure •back and side pains and
•blood in the urine.
The family says they want to see more funding and research dedicated to polycystic kidney disease... but in the meantime this once again raises awareness when it comes to the importance of kidney and organ donations.
Kathy Self says "They are literally giving the gift of a life."
A gift Thomas hopes he will receive before it's too late.