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Rome teen seeks kidney donor for lifelong friend

ROME - A neighbor is in need of a special kind of help - and one Proctorville teen is doing all he can to find someone who can provide it.

Lifelong Rome resident Ed Blankenship has polycystic kidney disease. He takes dialysis four times a day. Blankenship needs a kidney, and although he is on the donor list, a match has not been found.

Seventeen-year-old Fairland senior Brent Kidd has known Blankenship ever since the man coached Kidd's little league team. The two men and their families formed a close friendship that has grown over the years.

Kidd is trying to help his friend find a donor by going around to local churches, looking for potential donors - someone who is willing to get tested to see if they could be a match - if they could give his friend a kidney.

Kidd, Blankenship and Blankenship's son, Corey, spent time together Tuesday evening as Ed Blankenship does his dialysis.

"We are just trying to get the word out about his condition and pray that people are willing to help him any way they can," Brent Kidd said.

Blankenship, 45, resides in Rome with his wife Kim. He has two children, Corey, 17, and Jamie, 21, and an eighteen month old grandson named Hayden, and other family throughout the area.

Blankenship said that he and Kidd have developed a relationship that is almost like a father / son relationship. That is obvious while watching the men as they talk with one another - they are more than friends, they are family. He said that he is very moved by what Kidd is doing to help and that it makes him feel really special.

"To mean that much to him is really touching, really special," Blankenship said. "It has brought me to tears several times."

A simple blood and tissue test can be done to determine if someone is a potential donor. It is absolutely free to get the blood and tissue test. If you or someone you know is interested in being tested to see if you may be a potential donor, contact Ed Blankenship at (740) 886-8929.