SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A Sacramento firefighter who has saved the lives of others now needs help saving his own as he seeks out a kidney donor.

Tad Suwa found his passion in life at an early age, following his dream to become a firefighter for the city of Sacramento — despite a medical condition diagnosed out of high school.

“Through the job and through time, it progressively got worse,” said Tad.

Now this firefighter is in the fight of his life.

“It’s a life-changer. It’s a huge gift for somebody to give up,” he said.

Tad needs another kidney transplant. His sister donated her kidney but his body rejected it.

“It was devastating to find out afterwards it didn’t take,” said Bobbie Suwa, Tad’s mother.

He’s now on dialysis three days a week. It’s been six months and he is still waiting for a match.

“It only takes one person. It only takes one life to make a difference,” Team Donate Life Founder Jason Weckworth said.

Jason was touched by Tad’s story and organized a run through Sacramento to raise awareness.

“I know that the need is huge and we have enough people to fill that need,” said Kristen Weckworth.

She is one of those who gave her kidney to a complete stranger.

“I knew I was doing a good thing for somebody. I just never knew it would give back to me in so many ways,” said Kristen.

But for Tad, “it’s a huge gift” that would give him his life back and get him back to doing what he loves — saving lives.

“It kills me everyday I’m off,” he said. “Our fire family is our second family and it’s hard not being there.”

There are currently 80,000 people on the national transplant list. So far, a couple of people have offered to get tested to see if they are a match for tad.


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