Wenham Deputy Fire Chief in dire need of a kidney transplant

Wenham Deputy Fire Chief in dire need of a kidney transplant

WENHAM, Mass. — Jeffrey Baxter has spent the past 20 years helping the public as a Wenham firefighter and EMT. Now he needs the public’s help.

“Keeping our fingers crossed hoping someone will come through,” Baxter said.

The Wenham Deputy Fire Chief suffers from advanced kidney disease and is in dire need of a transplant. It’s now a waiting game for Baxter.

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“Got to go day-by-day and hopefully there’s enough people out there and somebody will want to donate. It will be a great thing,” Baxter said.

Baxter is an O blood type but doesn’t have antibodies in his blood, so he can receive a kidney from someone with either O-positive or O-negative blood-type. His wife and two children are not matches.

His daughter, Paige, said trying to find a donor during the pandemic has made it more difficult since they can’t hold face-to-face fundraisers to spread the word, but she remains optimistic.

“We’re hoping someone has the heart that wants to do this and finds the need that they want to be a donor and they want to help our family. It would mean the world to us,” she said.

According to the Living Kidney Donors Network, there are nearly 100,000 people on the kidney transplant waiting list and many people wait between five and ten years for a kidney from a deceased donor.

If Deputy Chief Baxter doesn’t receive a kidney soon, he will start dialysis.

“It is tough going day-by-day wondering if it’s ever going to happen. I know it’s something you think about in the back of your mind,” Baxter said.

Deputy Chief Baxter is enrolled in Mass General Hospital’s Living Donor Program. That program will allow him to receive a transplant without waiting for an organ from a deceased donor. If you are interested in donating a kidney, here is a link: https://www.massgeneral.org/transplant/about/living-donor-program