Indianapolis radio personality prepares to donate kidney

Indianapolis 99.5 WZPL radio personality Nikki Reed donates kidney to stranger

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — WZPL radio personality Nikki Reed on Thursday shared with News 8 her journey in becoming a kidney donor and what it takes to help save a life.

She’s on 99.5 FM every weekday morning. “There was something inside of me saying this is what you’re suppose to do,” Reed said. “There was never a hesitation and there was never a question in my mind. It was more so like ‘Let’s just figure out what life would look like after this.'”

Reed said she was inspired by a close friend, Michael Kaltenmark, Butler University’s mascot handler, who has Crohn’s disease. That’s a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the digestive tract and can cause abnormal enlargement of the kidney, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.

Reed said she had many clinical visits to see if she was in good shape to become a donor. “The more research I did, the more people I talk to, the more stories I’ve read it was just astounding how quickly you bounce back so it really doesn’t have to feel like big scary because it wasn’t,” she said.

Dr. Islam Ghoneim, kidney transplant program director at Ascension St. Vincent Indianapolis, said test results to find out if you’re a match can take up to six weeks. He added that most donors don’t face any long-term risks if they remain unhealthy.

“They become so much more health-conscious, so much more in tune with staying healthy that they tend to go through life maintaining their health, maintaining their weight, becoming health-conscious individuals that they tend to overcome those possible risks,” Ghoneim said.

Unfortunately, the blood types of Reed and Kaltenmark were not a match. So, Reed said, she’s still giving her kidney away to someone else who needs it most.

“Living donors, they have a better shot at life. They recover quicker, and we also can live a full life, so there is so much potential for greatness if people can just learn a little more about it,” the radio personality said.

Reed has shared her experiences on YouTube. Her surgery date is in December, and her kidney will go into the National Kidney Registry for someone else to have.