Cliff Tilton’s headache started Father’s Day in 2009. For three weeks, the pain continued until his wife insisted he go to the emergency room.
His blood pressure was 280 over 180, and his kidney function had dropped to 28 percent of normal levels.
“They told me it was a shock I was even there,” Tilton said.
The Evans man started dialysis three months later. Doctors told him that his condition, crescentic IgA nephropathy, had turned his immune system against his kidney and that the damage was irreversible. He was added to the transplant list at Georgia Regents Medical Center in late 2010.
The 29-year-old is waiting to receive a kidney from his brother, Tim, while family and friends continue to raise money for immunosuppressant medication he will need after the surgery.
“We’re hoping this year will be our year to do this,” he said.
An April 10 fundraiser with music by The Tams will help the Cliff Tilton Foundation with its $13,750 goal. More than $10,000 has been raised using matching funding from the Georgia Transplant Foundation, Tilton said.
The fundraiser will also feature music by local group the Sassy Brass Show Band. Barbecue dinner plates and raffle tickets will be available.
When Tilton’s wait is over, the foundation will continue to help others with costs associated with transplants.
Tilton’s disease progressed rapidly after he ignored early signs and was wrongly diagnosed with kidney stones years ago, he said.
“It was an interesting ride, and nevertheless it’s made me a lot more wise to medicine and sickness,” he said.