Teddy, David, John and Sarah

Sarah ShakespeareSarah ShakespeareMy mother, Sarah, who was active in community and political work, taught me the importance of being a concerned citizen and helping those in need. My father, Ted, a popular teacher who’d lost a limb in World War II, inspired me to live a full life and never give up.

As a young adult, my life began to change as I learned firsthand how PKD can devastate a family. When I was a high school senior, my mother started dialysis for her own PKD. Her life revolved around time-consuming treatments that drained her.

Four years later, she died at 58 of a heart attack, caused by the strain of dialysis. Before my mother died, my oldest brother Teddy Teddy ShakespeareTeddy Shakespeareand I were both diagnosed with PKD. Eight years after my mother’s death, Teddy died from a brain aneurysm, a rare side effect of PKD. He was only 38. Both of these losses were devastating to me, my brother John and my father. What helped us cope was the support of friends and family.

After these experiences I decided to live my life as fully as possible. I enjoyed hiking and camping with friends, leading kayaking trips throughout New England, and starting a career in the field of environmental protection. At 36, I met my loving wife and best friend, Leslie. Together we have a shared love of outdoor sports, traveling and being with our families, including my step-family and a new generation of nieces and nephews whom we adore.

Our boys, Gregory and Sean, have always looked up to and love spending time with their Uncle David. He is very kind and a lot of fun. We all hope David can find his donor. That person’s generosity will help David as he continues to make great memories for all of us. - Greg and Anne, David’s in-laws

I have also been supporting efforts to increase funding for PKD research and organ donation through my work with the PKD Foundation and other organizations.

Today, due to the progression of my disease, my health is deteriorating. With the help of a living donor, I know I can resume the active life I once shared with my wife and others, while continuing to work on behalf of the environment, PKD and living donor initiatives.

I am an optimist, not someone who gives up. With your help, I know I can make it.

I believe in the power of community: when individuals join together, they can overcome challenges that no one person can alone.