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December 16, 2015

Wife Gives Husband the Gift of Life with Living Donor Kidney

By Paul Scotti

Cameron Mullis received a living donor kidney transplant from his wife, Savannah. When 29-year-old Cameron Mullis of Jacksonville, Florida, was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy and told he’d need a kidney transplant, he was facing the likelihood of kidney dialysis and several years of waiting for a suitable donor. Little did he realize, his potential donor was living under the same roof as him.

IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger's disease, is a kidney disease that occurs when an antibody called immunoglobulin A, or IgA, lodges in your kidneys. This results in local inflammation that, over time, may hamper your kidneys' ability to filter waste, excess water and electrolytes from your blood. Kidney damage may be indicated by blood and protein in the urine, high blood pressure and swollen feet. There currently is no cure for this disease outside of a kidney transplant. 

After his initial diagnosis in September 2014, Cameron came to Mayo Clinic's Florida campus for an evaluation for a kidney transplant. He was listed for a kidney in May 2015. The median wait time is 3.6 years for a donor kidney, given the national demand for donated organs, especially kidneys. Currently, more than 101,000 patients are listed nationally for a donor kidney, while last year, only about 17,000 kidney transplants were done in the U.S.

Cameron and his fiancée, Savannah, were planning to be married on June 12, 2015, and the couple wondered whether their plans would be thwarted due to the uncertainty of Cameron’s health. Savannah works at Mayo Clinic and was a scheduler for the Transplant Department for three years, so she was very familiar with the transplant evaluation and listing process.

“After a few weeks of learning Cameron’s diagnosis, I just realized I needed to be strong for him and try to do everything I could to live a normal life without making every day solely about his condition,” Savannah says. “I knew it could be a long wait for him, so we tried to make the best of the situation in the meantime.”

“My transplant experience has exceeded my expectations, and I feel amazing. I am ready to be productive and live a normal active life again.” - Cameron Mullis

A registered organ donor since age 16, Savannah had her blood tested to see if by some chance she would be a potential match. When Savannah was contacted by his transplant coordinator and told she was, in fact, a potential match for her husband, she says the weight of the world lifted from her shoulders.

“Prior to that call, I felt like I was going to have to put our dreams of a big family, travel and a normal life on hold to take care of my husband,“ Savannah says. “But when I got the call that I was a match, I knew everything would be OK.”

MullisWedding600The living donor transplant between husband and wife occurred at Mayo Clinic on Sept. 8, 2015. The recovery process wasn’t easy at first, but today, both Savannah and Cameron are doing well just months after their surgeries and have resumed their lives as normally as possible.

“My transplant experience has exceeded my expectations, and I feel amazing,” says Cameron. “I am ready to be productive and live a normal active life again.”

Thanks to living organ donation and the gift from his wife, who was extremely fortunate to be a suitable match, Cameron’s wait for a kidney was only four months when it could have been several years. As a result, he was able to avoid going on dialysis altogether.

“With 3,000 new patients per month listed nationally awaiting a new kidney, there are never enough deceased donor organs available to meet the demand,” says Martin Mai, M.D., a transplant nephrologist at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus. “Living organ donation helps fill that gap in available kidneys, and each living donor makes a huge impact in the quality and longevity of life for the recipient.”

For Cameron and Savannah Mullis, there is no doubt they are strongly supportive of everyone registering to become an organ donor.

“I can say firsthand that it is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done,” Savannah says.



Tags: Florida Campus, IgA Nephropathy, Kidney Dialysis, kidney disease, kidney transplant, Mayo Clinic Transplant Center, Transplant

I have 3 sons. Two of them have received Kidney transplants at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago. My oldest son received a kidney from my sister in 1996. It has been good for almost 20 years but unfortunately he is in renal failure and is on dialysis again. His wife does not match so they are in an exchange program where she will give a kidney to a recipient and Jeff, my son, will receive a kidney from a living donor. Four of them will be in surgery at the same time..My son is not doing well on dialysis but there are no matches at this point. We pray for someone to step forward to give him this gift. My middle son has also received a kidney from his wonderful wife 3 years ago and is doing excellent.He went in to renal failure 4 years ago and his wife and all of us were so blessed and surprised she matched!! We are very grateful for the fact that they are both still here with us, but we are trying to find a match for Jeff. I tell everyone I know and strangers. So I’m telling you. Thank you for letting me. Cathy


My 18 year old daughter is awaiting the biopsy to diagnose igA. This is a terrifying thought for me. Our coach just had a kidney transplant because of this disease last fall. Any words of wisdom, and prayers would be appreciated.


My name is Ryan when I was 21 I was diagnosed with IGA nephropathy. My protein level was over 12,000 and my creatinine level was at a three. I did all kinds of invasive treatment prednisone chemotherapy cyclosporine and many others. I also did nature path treatment program with dr. Bill Cardell in Seattle. After about three years of intense treatment I was able to achieve remissions and return to a normal life. I’ve now been in remission for the last 4 years. I don’t know if any of this will help you but if you have any questions I sure would be glad to answer them to the best of my ability. Thanks and good luck


Hi Ryan,

Currently I am suffering from IGAN with Creatinine level 2.0 taking below medication:
1. Prednisone 10 mg
2. Mycophenolate mofetil

can you please let me now – how IGAN is remissioned completely,

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