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September 29, 2011   Email to Friend 

Alfa Agent Gives Life Through Organ Donation
Miranda Mattheis

Alfa Agent Keith Martin and his aunt, Peggy Agee.
Alfa agents spend their careers helping people in times of need, but Midland City, Ala., agent Keith Martin took that calling a step further when he voluntarily donated a kidney to a family member May 25.

Peggy Agee, Martin's aunt, has polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder that has affected four other members in her family.

After years of waiting for the inevitable and nine long months of dialysis, doctors finally told Agee the dreaded news--she needed a transplant.

"We've known for years she would need one," Martin said. "I knew I was a logical match because of my blood type."

Martin was tested, and within two weeks the family knew he was a match; however, he had a few questions before he could commit to the surgery. Namely, he wanted to be sure that he nor his children had the disease. Doctors assured him they were not affected.

His decision meant his aunt would no longer be tied to a machine.

"It means a lot," Agee said. "It's wonderful--it's my life." By May, Martin and Agee were ready for the surgery, and it went well for them both.

"My kidney is wonderful--it's doing great," Agee said a few weeks following the transplant. "The doctor said everything is doing great."

In the days immediately following the surgery, Martin said he experienced some pain but felt fine otherwise. Despite a brief bout of pneumonia, he was back at work just two-and-a-half weeks after the surgery.

Martin humbly deflects any praise or attention for his life-saving gift.

"Some things you just do because they are the right things to do," he said.

According to the Alabama Organ Center, more than 3,500 people in the state are waiting for an organ transplant. There is no financial cost to the donor or the donor's family, and one donor can help more than 75 people.

For information, visit the Alabama Organ Center's website, alabamaorgancenter.org.


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