PAOLA — Paul Argeropoulos’ failing kidneys have taken a lot from him — career, health, money and time with his family.
But one thing that has remained strong since his diagnosis more than four years ago is his faith in God.
Two Bible verses in particular from Romans, Chapter 8, have been ringing in his ears.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” and “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”
Those words kept Paul going even after he was diagnosed with stage four renal failure in early 2015. They were his rock when he started daily dialysis and got on the kidney donor waiting list. And they were his comfort in 2016 when his health issues started affecting his legs and he decided he needed to retire from the Paola Police Department for medical reasons.
Staying positive wasn’t easy, though. Paul learned that his left kidney had never worked, and he had been living off of his right kidney his entire life. He also learned that the average wait time for a kidney transplant is three years, so he braced himself for a lengthy stretch of the grueling nine-hour dialysis treatment every night.
A few glimmers of false hope also tested his spirit. On two separate occasions, it hadappeared a match had been found, but both fell through at the last moment.
Still, Paul maintained his faith thanks in large part to support from his congregation at Crosspoint Church in Paola. He also received strong support from his wife, Mary Kathryn, and their children.
But even though he knew his family members loved him, he had no idea one particular family member was preparing to make a life-changing sacrifice for him.
Paul’s brother-in-law Jonathan Dandy, who lives in Oregon with his wife and eight children, had secretly been getting testing done to see if he would be a match for Paul.
Earlier this year, after flying in for some final testing, Dandy called his sister Mary Kathryn to share the good news that he is a match. Paul said he couldn’t believe it when his wife tearfully told him about her brother’s decision.
“I was speechless,” he said.
In February, Paul announced to the world that after four long years, he is scheduled to receive a kidney thanks to the generous sacrifice of his brother-in-law.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen,” he quoted from Hebrews 11:1.
The operation took place March 19, and it was a success, with both patients coming out with smiles on their faces.
Paul’s recuperation has not been a smooth one, as he had to undergo surgery to repair a hernia, but he is thankful to be rid of the dialysis machine and supplies that had been such a large part of his life the past four years.
And he’s thrilled to get back to doing some of the things he loves like fishing and making his Blue Knight BBQ sauce.
Most of all, though, he’s happy to be back with his family and spend time with his children, including 14-year-old Jaden and 9-year-old twins Maleah and Burke. He also has two older girls named Britini and Alyssa.
“I’d like for them to know a Dad who’s not sick,” Paul said.
Just two weeks after coming home after the transplant, Paul was able to summon enough strength to walk his daughter Maleah in for her first daddy-daughter dance.
And now that he has been given a new lease on life, Paul wants to make a difference in the lives of others. He is currently working on writing a devotional book based on his experiences as a police officer.
The pain and fatigue have not yet fully subsided for Paul, but he said his wife has helped give him perspective.
“She said there are three options, ‘pain, paralysis or death. The pain means you’re still alive,’” he said. “I’m thankful for every day.”