HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — More than 100,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant and more than 85% of those patients need a kidney, according to Donate Life America.

Kidney disease affects thousands of people each year. A Grand Strand resident shared her story and what people should know if they want to help.

“You know, because like I said, if it’s not a match for me, maybe it’ll be a match for one of them,” Lisa Neidler said.

Neidler has lived with kidney disease for the past 40 years.

“My right kidney has quit working. It’s a dead organ and they can barely find it on an ultrasound anymore,” she said. “My left kidney is the only one that functions and I’ve got somewhere between 14 and 15% function in it.”

Tiffany Thompkins Tindal, who works in the surgery department at the Medical University of South Carolina Florence, spoke about the importance of patients having donors.

“It is crucial for patients to have a donor, and Living Donation is just a wonderful way to do that,” she said.

Transplant procedures happen at MUSC in Charleston, with follow-up appointments at MUSC’s multiple outreach clinics, including in Florence and Murrells Inlet.

Living Donation is an option for patients who may be facing a lengthy wait to receive a kidney. This route offers family, friends, loved ones and even strangers the opportunity to serve as donors and save someone’s life.

“The actual long-term lifespan of those kidneys that are donated are approximately 20 years,” Thompkins Tindal said. “So, statistically, Living Donation is very safe. An effective way to transplant patients and by far the gold standard for kidney transplant at this point in time.”

Neidler is waiting to get on the transplant list, and she teared up when sharing what it would mean to her if she got a new kidney.

“It would mean everything to me,” she said. “Because that would be more years that I get to spend on this earth.”

Her husband said they’re doing everything in hopes of finding a donor.

“Just do everything I can to get the word out to try and help us through this and pray that someone sees it and wants to come forward and help us out,” Charlie Neidler said.

“This would mean the world to me,” Lisa Neidler said. “And it truly is the difference between life and death.”

To become a donor and learn more about how you can help, click here.

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Gracie is a multimedia journalist at News 13 and is from Cleveland, Ohio. Gracie joined the team in June 2023 after graduating from the University of Alabama in May. Follow Gracie on Facebook, Instagram and X, formerly Twitter, & read more of her work here.