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SALT LAKE CITY — Right now, there are more than 100,000 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant in the United States. For many, the donation doesn’t come soon enough, but sometimes people connect in a way they never expected.

Eight years ago, Maka Aulava was diagnosed with diabetes, a disease that can potentially cause many other health issues, including kidney failure. Then Aulava received a tough diagnosis in January of last year.

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“They called me the next day and said, ‘It’s urgent you come see us,'” Aulava remembered. “(They said,) ‘Your kidneys are not functioning correctly.”

Aulava was diagnosed with kidney failure and faced a lengthy wait on the transplant list. Being sick gave him a lot of time to think, he said.

“Initially, (it’s) just worry for my kids and my wife,” Aulava said.

He thought about the things he wished he could do.

“During the winter, when I wasn’t able to do things physically, and I’d see my wife shoveling the snow,” he said through tears.

Years of sickness led Aulava to University Hospital. A kidney transplant could save this husband and father’s life.

“What will it mean for them and will I be there for them?” Aulava remembered asking himself following his kidney failure diagnosis. He endured a year and a half on dialysis. “Twelve hours (of dialysis) a week, pretty much,” he said.

One person who was there to support Aulava: Branden Seare.

To read the full article on KSL, click here