My husband has 5 stage kidney failure and is on dialysis every night waiting for his MUCH NEEDED kidney transplant. The UVA is DENYING him a kidney and has removed him from the waitlist because he is not vaccinated. Even though he has already survived covid and has natural immunity. We have serious concern of him taking this vaccine that has imposes risks to him because of the side effects. We desperately need financial to help us pursue legal assistance. This wouldn't just be helping my husband. It would be helping everyone else that is being denied medical attention for life threatening illnesses. We have to make sure that this does not continue. Please pray for my husband, Shamgar Connors, that he receives a kidney before it's too late. Thank you for hearing our story and please help me share so we can start taking action NOW!
Hello everyone. My name is Lauren Connors and I am Shamgar Connors's wife. Shamgar and I have never really shared our story about his kidney failure and how sick he has become. We never wanted to be a burden on others and felt we needed to carry this weight alone. However, now that ugly and blatant medical discrimination has reared it's head, we feel that it is our duty and our mission to expose it and bring hope to those who are experiencing the same.
A little history about Shamgar. Shamgar is the eldest of 9 children and helped raise them all when his father passed away while Sham was only in college. He dedicated himself to his family, then went on to dedicate his life to educating children. Shamgar was a teacher for 14 years, along with coaching soccer and basketball for multiple age groups. He loved what he did, he built a whole website for his students to use to learn how to better their futures in this technology driven society. Then he began to get sick. In 2014 he experienced his first scare. He gained massive water weight and was told that his kidneys were failing. He struggled to maintain his health since that day, being told that no matter how hard he tried to control his blood pressure and his diet, that his kidneys were slowly but surely destroying themselves with protein waste. His kidneys were turning into balls of scar tissue because of FSGS, an auto-immune disorder where the body does not know how to use protein so it is wasted and sent through the kidneys. The kidneys are too small to handle the protein so it punches holes through them to get to the urine and causes scarring. He began to struggle with water weight gain constantly, chronic exhaustion, muscle cramping, nausea, dangerous high blood pressure events, and even eye damage where he nearly went blind in one eye. All during this time he was working and trying to support his wife, son, and newly born daughter.
Finally, his kidneys completely failed in August of 2020. He was at his heaviest water weight, unable to bend his knees, sleep flat or walk without assistance. He was so critically ill that he needed to jump straight to hemodialysis instead of the planned peritoneal dialysis. He had to have a catheter placed in his neck and have his blood manually cleaned 3 days a week for 5 to 7 hours straight. He had to be driven to and from dialysis and assisted in his daily care because his body was so toxic from the organ failure. At that time, we were referred to UVA hospital in Richmond to put Shamgar on a kidney transplant list. We were told that his O+ blood made him a rare match and his waiting list for a deceased organ was 8-10 years. We were scared, but we agreed because we wanted some hope that Sham would get a transplant and survive. Leading up to today, Shamgar has endured multiple hospital stays, surgeries and procedures to ensure his best chances at living long enough to make it to his chance for a lifesaving organ transplant.
Then Covid arrived and we discovered just how callous and uncaring the medical system, that I as a nurse dedicated my life and career to, can truly be. Shamgar is a deeply religious person and will tell you the origin of his name in an instant. His family names are rooted in the Bible, as are the names of our children Jonah and Elianah. Those deeply held and protected religious beliefs led him to take an exemption for the covid MRNA vaccinations. His medical care was continued with no resistance or disparaging comments from his local doctors, or his dialysis team, his friends and family. However, UVA called and asked if Shamgar had taken the vaccine. When he informed them that he had gotten covid, not been overly ill, and recovered within 4 days, the doctor stated it was not enough and if he did not get the vaccine he would be immediately removed from the transplant list.
UVA stated blatantly that they are discriminating against someone for not taking an experimental and unproven vaccine. They blatantly stated they are ignoring the constitutionally protected religious right to practice the Christian faith. They blatantly stated that they would let my husband die of organ failure because he would not take a vaccine that is being proven to not protect people from still contracting the virus and being hospitalized anyway. This mega-company of a hospital is intentionally and willingly denying my husband care, and is knowingly sentencing him to death.
Please, we need your help. We are reaching out to news stations, radio stations and all of our friends and families to spread the news of this horrific denial of care. In a time when we need to come together in this country and care for one another, this UVA Hospital has decided who gets to live and who is to die. This is not triage in a warzone. This is cold, calculated, and intentional murder of those we should be caring for the most. Shamgar is suffering from an auto-immune disease, no fault of his own. He is a teacher, a father, and a loving husband.
The funds that are raised here will be used to file a lawsuit against UVA should we find someone to take up the cause with us. They will also be used to help pay the medical bills that will continue to climb as Shamgar is kept alive only by machines that manually clean his blood for him. A kidney was our hope. A transplant was our dream for even a little bit of normalcy again. Instead, UVA decided that my son and daughter will only have memories of their father attached to tubes to keep him alive. Memories of him trapped in a bed, suffering the pains of dialysis and unable to play with them.