With Father’s Day gift, Manti High teacher hopes for more years of life and health
By Robert Green
EPHRAIM—An Ephraim man received a very precious gift—the gift of life—from his daughter for Father’s Day.
This gift enabled Gerald Wayman, 55, a woodshop and drafting teacher at Manti High School, to survive his third
For Gerald, it hasn’t been easy living with a kidney disease called IGA nephropathy, also known as Berger’s disease, which causes kidney failure over time.
The disease had been relentlessly attacking Gerald’s kidneys since 2006; it forced Gerald into two previous kidney
transplants, Then his one good kidney began to fail again. He was required to endure extensive dialysis, and his family was looking for a third kidney donor, when his daughter, Shaleen Martel, stepped forward.
Knowing her father was in desperate need of another kidney, Shaleen wanted to give up her own kidney to let her father live a better life.
So Shaleen, without telling her father, took all the tests to see if she would qualify as a kidney donor match. And when she was approved as a viable and healthy donor, she sprung the news to him in May by giving him a stuffed kidney toy.
Gerald didn’t have a clue that Shaleen was being tested and that she wanted to be involved in the transplant, said Shauna Wayman, Gerald’s wife of 33 years. The couple have eight children and three grandchildren. Shaleen is their second oldest child.
The Waymans agreed to have Gerald undergo the kidney transplant surgery on June 18, two days after Father’s Day, at the Intermountain Medical Clinic in Murray.
Shaleen and her family arrived from Wisconsin, making arrangements to spend one month in Utah to perform the surgery and recuperate.
The surgery took longer than usual because this is Gerald’s third kidney transplant, but the operation was a success, Shauna said. Gerald is doing fine and the function of his new kidney is high.
Shalee has been released from the hospital with a bit of abdominal soreness and will be recuperating at her in-law’s home in Lindon.
Gerald will be recuperating at his sister’s home in Murray, close enough to the hospital to be monitored on a regular basis. He will continue to be tested for a month to make sure the organ is not being rejected, Shauna said. Gerald plans to return to his teaching duties at Manti High School in January.
“We are thrilled to have another new lease on life,” Shauna said. “The one thing that has kept us going through all this turmoil is a positive attitude. Gerald has always had a positive attitude; he is able to take what comes at him in stride.”
Many of Gerald’s health problems cropped up in 2006, when his kidneys began to fail and he was diagnosed with IGA nephropathy.
Blood appeared in Gerald’s urine and he showed elevated levels of creatinine. Gerald began to feel sick, as if he had the flu, and his doctors put him on dialysis, Shauna said.
He became very sick and doctors told him he needed a kidney transplant, so his brother Lynn donated one of his kidneys to Gerald the following year.
Gerald’s new kidney worked fine until 2012, when signs of kidney failure begin to appear again.
At the same time that Gerald’s kidney began to fail and while he was looking for a transplant donor, a terrible tragedy fell upon his cousin Nick Anderson from Fairview.
Nick passed away due to a brain aneurysm, and Gerald was able to receive one of Nick’s kidneys in 2013, Shauna said.
Nick turned out to be a perfect match and the transplant was a success, Shauna said.
For almost five years, Gerald’s kidney worked great, but they began to fail again in October of 2017. “The disease resurfaced and attacked the new kidney,” said Shauna. “This was really disappointing.”
For a while, Gerald was traveling to Provo three days a week for four hours a day for dialysis. Then he went on home-dialysis treatment, which was more convenient, but treatments and medications took their toll.
Gerald’s immune system became suppressed and he was hit with one ailment after another. He dealt with bones breaking in his foot, ulcers, gall bladder surgery and a strangulated hernia. To top it off, doctors recommended removing his tonsils to prevent infection; so he did that.
Gerald spent about 20 months on dialysis. As the situation worsened, the Wayman family posted on Facebook that a live donor was needed for another kidney transplant.
This would be Gerald’s third, if they could find a donor match. This, however, proved difficult, as the first 17 people who signed up were rejected by the doctors, Shauna said.
Shauna wanted to donate a kidney and she was nearly approved, but was denied at the end of the process because of her medical history.
Gerald’s kids wanted to see if they were a donor match, but doctors told them the disease might be genetic and it would be best to use other donors if possible.
Nevertheless, Gerald’s second oldest child, Shaleen, was persistent and insisted on donating a kidney to her father. Shaleen said she didn’t show any signs of the disease, and it wouldn’t matter to her if she had one kidney less anyway, because the disease attacks both kidneys at the same time.
IGA nephropathy, also known as Berger’s disease, is a kidney disease that occurs when an antibody called immunoglobulin A (IgA) builds up in your kidneys. This results in local inflammation that, over time, can hamper the kidneys’ ability to filter waste from blood.
The causes of Berger’s disease are not well understood, but some researchers considered the disease to be genetic.