Local veteran seeking 2nd kidney transplant after 1st rejected

Calvin Jordan, a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, needs a 2nd kidney transplant after his first was rejected. He is hoping to find a private donor to shorten the wait time for the organ. [Christina Johnson]

A Maricopa military veteran, who spent 23 years in the U.S. Coast Guard, is seeking a donor for a kidney transplant.

Calvin Jordan needs a second kidney transplant after his body rejected a kidney he received in 2020.

Although his transplanted kidney is failing, it remains in his body until he can get a replacement. He now receives dialysis three days a week to keep the kidney functional.

“When I got out of the military, I found out I had had hypertension for a long time and didn’t know it,” Jordan said. “My kidneys were failing. I was on dialysis for two years, then I got a kidney, but the donor had hepatitis C. We accepted the kidney, and I was treated in advance for the hepatitis.”

The transplant was successful initially, but after a year, his body rejected the organ. Jordan believes it was due to an error by his physician or a lab.

“They either missed a lab or missed a level, and one day I felt really, really bad,” he said. “I was taken by ambulance to the hospital and was there for about a month.”

Jordan’s wife, Christina, said that while his life is not in immediate danger, time is important.

“We would obviously like to find a donor as soon as possible,” Christina said. “He is on the VA waiting list, but that could take three to five years. He’s on dialysis three days a week and it has really taken a toll on his life, and on his kids. We have three little kids at home, ages 8, 5 and 4, and it’s tough on them.”

According to Christina, those interested in donating must meet the following criteria:

  • Ages 21-70.
  • No diabetes.
  • No high blood pressure.
  • Body-mass index less than 32 (can be flexible based on height/weight ratio).
  • No sexually transmitted diseases.

Jordan continues to suffer from his failing kidney.

“I’m very fatigued a lot of the time,” he said. “Throughout the course of the day, it’s almost like a sleep-apnea effect, where I can just nod off in the middle of a conversation. Walking around and other normal, everyday activities are very taxing. I have neuropathy in my feet. But the biggest side effect is my stomach and bowels, where I have limited control. I always need to be very close to a restroom. Because of that, I’m pretty much housebound.”

Anyone interested in learning if they are a donor candidate can call Christina Jordan at 907-727-1013. She will put potential donors in touch with Calvin’s care coordinator. They would then be sent to their nearest hospital for blood work, an EKG and eventually tissue matching. The VA covers those expenses. Should a donor be found, the VA would fly them to Portland, Oregon, location of the main transplant facility for the military.

Because Jordan has suffered a rejection, there are restrictions that would not be in place for a first-time recipient.

He said his blood antibodies changed with the rejection, so not only must his blood type of B-positive be matched, but the antibodies must match, as well. He cannot receive a donation from universal type O blood.

“I’d really appreciate a donor,” Jordan said. “Donating an organ is a big decision but being in my situation, I’m very appreciative to those who consider donating.”