Urgent call out for kidney donation

Doctors tell Allison Himber’s relatives to step up search

Allison Himber Courtesy photo

Allison Himber Courtesy photo

Diagnosed with kidney disease two decades ago at age 6, Cal Lutheran University graduate Allison Himber thought she was finally free of it after receiving a transplant five years ago.

Her father, Steve Himber, a Realtor who works in Westlake Village, donated one of his kidneys to Allison during the successful surgery in 2013.

But it turned out the now-26- year-old Moorpark resident was not out of the woods.

After a couple of years of good health, Allison developed infections that left her donated kidney seriously damaged, her father said. Now she needs a second kidney transplant, he told the Acorn last week.

“Unfortunately, Alli’s kidney function is deteriorating rapidly,” Himber said.

Two months ago, doctors told the family they needed to step up the search for a transplant donor, he said. None of her close relatives have turned out to be a match for a donation so far, Himber said.

The family has set up an email address in hopes that volunteers come forward to be tested as a potential match for a transplant, and they’re also using social media and other platforms to get the word out, Himber said.

“She checks the email every day,” he said. “We did have several people who came forward who were potential matches. But unfortunately they never got past the first round” of testing for a match.

Initially, a potential donor goes through an interview to determine their medical background and other pertinent information. If that checks out, the next step is blood tests.

With no promising donor in sight so far, the family is now getting creative in its search.

During a trip to Disneyland with her boyfriend on March 31, Allison wore a T-shirt she designed that displays the email address: kidney4alli@gmail.com.

Kidney disease patients in need of a transplant have basically two options: They can join the more than 100,000 people on a national transplant waiting list for a kidney from a deceased donor, which can take up to a decade. Or they can find a living donor willing to undergo the procedure.

Often, while waiting for a transplant, a patient undergoes difficult kidney dialysis treatments to help keep them alive.

For now, Allison, who grew up in Simi Valley and Moorpark and graduated from Santa Susana High School in Simi, is not undergoing dialysis, but she does receive regular injections that help keep her red blood cell count up and takes a number of medications daily, her father said.

A music major, Allison continues working at her job as an analyst for a music publishing company in the San Fernando Valley.

If a kidney donor can be found, Himber said, he can give the person firsthand knowledge of what to expect.

“As both a father and a donor, I can educate that person about the procedure and all that’s involved,” he said.

Those interested in being tested as a potential match for Allison also can call Steve Himber directly at (805) 304-0739.