OLD MONROE, MO - A police officer who serves and protects his Lincoln County community is hoping someone in the community will step up to save him. Officer Ryan Armistead with the Old Monroe Police Department needs a kidney transplant so he can get off dialysis and get his life back.
About three years ago, Armistead went to the doctor because he was suffering from headaches. Doctors did several tests and found he suffers from an autoimmune disease that destroyed his kidneys.
They called him with the results and said, "You need to go to a hospital, you're at 13 percent kidney function." Doctors immediately put Armistead on the kidney transplant list, and he has been waiting ever since.
For two years, Armistead underwent treatments in a dialysis center where he spent four hours a day, three days a week. His time at the center meant time away from his wife, Jessica, and young son, Gregory.
A few months ago, Armistead received an in-home dialysis machine and was able to bring the process home. He now spends three hours a day, five days each week on dialysis.
"It's hard on everybody 'cause you have to revolve your life around this," Armistead said pointing to his dialysis machine.
While Armistead is home, family time is often spent watching television in bed. Gregory, 4, does not remember his dad before dialysis.
"He just knows Daddy's got to have his shots," said Armistead.
Despite his condition, Armistead continues to work patrolling and protecting the community of Old Monroe, where he has worked for the past two years. He is grateful for the support his chief and fellow officers have shown his family.
Several people have stepped up to donate a kidney to Armistead but, for a variety of reasons, were not chosen.
Armistead's doctors tell him it may take five to seven years for someone on the transplant list to find a match.
"So, we just look at it as five to seven years of a bump in the road before we can go back to a normal life."
Jessica created a Facebook page to help get the word out, and family and friends can be seen sporting car magnets around town with information on how to donate.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help offset some of the costs of treatment. The in-home dialysis treatment costs $30,000 each month plus the cost for the ten daily medications Armistead must take.
Armistead is on the kidney transplant list at Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center.
For more info about kidney transplants at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center.
If you are interested in becoming a living organ donor, call 314-362-5365 or sign up here.