Veteran seeks donor
Albert Jackson Tyner awaits news that a kidney is on its way.
The Callahan resident has been on a transplant wait list for more than two years after his kidney crashed Oct. 12, 2016. Following the health crisis, he was soon diagnosed with sepsis and spent 21 days in the hospital. He lost his other kidney to cancer around 2000.
He now seeks a kidney from a living donor. A harvested kidney from a deceased donor is also an option.
“It’s usually a five-year wait, but it could come whenever,” Tyner said.
Known to his friends as Jack, the 70-year-old veteran served in the U.S. Marines. He drives a white 2003 Chevy Silverado with a message on the rear window that reads “I did my part. Now I need your help kidney transplant (904) 878-7129.”
The phone number links callers to a Google phone account that advises them to go to www.livingdonor.org to submit an application to become a kidney donor.
“I drive around quite a bit,” Tyner said. “The sign gives me a billboard, or something like that, as a method of getting the word out.”
He stays close to home so that if a donor becomes available, he can travel to Jacksonville’s Mayo Clinic rather quickly. The message attracts attention around town.
“Occasionally people let me know – a thumbs up – or a honk of the horn, something like that,” Tyner said.
He wants that message to raise awareness of organ donations.
“It’s not necessarily about me,” Tyner said. “There’s a lot of people out there looking for donors.”
He reports monthly to a dialysis clinic to have his blood drawn and to ensure his blood chemistry aligns with the numbers necessary for transplant.
At night, he undergoes dialysis while resting or sleeping.
He receives the filtering treatments in 90-minute intervals five nights a week.
He has a pacemaker and has undergone a shoulder replacement and heart valve replacement surgeries.
Despite those challenges, Tyner still enjoys fishing.
“I guess that’s my hobby,” he said.
Wife Margaret assists with scheduling appointments and keeping his diet on track.
“She’s been my other half for 36 years,” he said.
Tyner also spends his free time raising donor awareness by encouraging others to become donors.
“There are people out there who need our help,” Tyner said. “It could be the difference between life and death to me. Just be a donor, whether it be living or after. One person can save seven lives.”
He just wants others to think of the impacts becoming a donor could have on those in need.
“There’s so many organs going to waste,” Tyner said. “Once you’re gone, you don’t need it. And your family will always know that you live on through that person.”