By: Melissa A. Kay
Jacob Silver of Roseland, New Jersey will turn 30 on March 21. It’s a milestone, and for Silver, it means more to him than most. Having been diagnosed with a neurogenic bladder at just six months old, his life has been burdened with countless trips in and out of hospitals, several surgeries, multiple bacterial infections, and eventual kidney failure.
Silver lived in Loma Linda, California as an infant, but after moving across the country, he graduated from Livingston High School. He was accepted to seven colleges, six of which offered him scholarships, as his mother, Marlene S. Baker shared. Silver decided that Rutgers University would be where he’d go, and zeroed in on business, making it his major.
Baker explains of her only child, “Unfortunately due to being sick so often, he only was able to get through two years of college. Jacob is an extremely smart individual, originally wanting to be on Wall Street. Since then he changed his mind and wanted to teach quantum physics. He has a very dry sense of humor, loves soccer, video games, and the stock market. He is a good son and grandson, and my life.”
These days, Silver resides with his Aunt Mary in a shared apartment, and he’s very close to his maternal grandparents, Shirley and Murray Silver.
Since he was small, Silver’s health battles have been part of the picture. He’s in need of a new kidney, and the fact that his blood type is O negative makes it even harder for him to find a match, according to Baker. She says, “Every day is bad, it’s just the degree of bad that it is.” Seeing her son in this condition must be so difficult for Baker to handle, but for the sake of her son, she stays strong.
Baker explains, “Jacob has been on peritoneal dialysis since October of 2017. This past December, it stopped working and he had to begin hemodialysis. Unfortunately, it has not been going well for him. He’s having an extremely hard time adjusting to the differences in diets and the amount of fluids allowed. He is also regularly suffering from cluster headaches which last caused him to have a seizure and be hospitalized for a week. He has been on the waiting list (for a kidney) here in New Jersey almost three years, and almost two years in Florida. I really believe – as I’m sure most parents of children waiting for kidneys do – that he most definitely needs (a transplant) sooner than later.” Silver goes for dialysis every three days, and the process takes up nearly the entire day. Understandably, he hasn’t felt well since the dialysis started.
A donor around age 30 with blood type O negative would be Silver’s best match. Baker shared how others can help, even if they can’t donate a kidney to Silver directly. “They have what’s called an exchange program. Anyone who would like to donate a kidney would do so in Jacob’s name. If they passed all the tests and were qualified to donate a kidney, whatever blood type they are, it would go to the person at the top of the list waiting for that particular blood type. In exchange for that, Jacob would replace this person at the top of the list and the next available O negative kidney would go to him.”
With a new kidney, Baker says, “To the best of my knowledge and understanding, he will make a complete and total recovery and be able to live a very long, normal life.”
For those interested in donating a kidney or getting more information about the process, please contact Saint Barnabas Medical Center, Kidney Transplant Division, 973-322-5346; the kidney center at Jackson Memorial in Miami, 305-585-1111; or the kidney center at Columbia Presbyterian New York City, 212-305-3273. You can also email Baker directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.