Local college student in end-stage kidney failure seeking transplant donor
Kirill Timoshin, 19, of Reno is in end stage kidney failure and needs a second transplant. His mother, Masha Zelenin, a former Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center says help from a living donor would provide the best chance of survival for her son.
Former Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center registered nurse Masha Zelenin is asking the community’s help for her son, 19, who is in need of a kidney transplant as soon as possible. Kirill Timoshin, who graduated from Truckee Meadows High School in 2020, is in end stage kidney failure and needs a second transplant. Zelenin told the Appeal on Friday a willing, living donor would be the most successful possibility for her son. Timoshin was diagnosed with juvenile nephronophthisis (NPH), or Fanconi syndrome, a genetic disorder impacting the kidneys causing substances that typically would be absorbed into the bloodstream to be released into the urine instead. NPH is described by general scarring, inflammation and is confirmed with high levels of glucose and phosphates. Juvenile NPH can affect boys and girls equally, with symptoms first appearing at about 4 to 6 years of age and blood pressure occurring normally before renal failure, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. “We first started to notice it (with Kirill) when he was 7 years old, and he got his first kidney transplant when he was 8,” Zelenin said. “Everything went well, and he’s taken about 20 pills a day all his life, and he’s had quite a few hospitalizations because of infections. But he’s still doing pretty good at school.” Zelenin donated one of her own kidneys for Timoshin when he was 8. His first transplant took place in Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel in Petah Tikva in the Central District of Israel, east of Tel Aviv. They have been following up at the University of California, Davis with the Pediatric Nephrology Clinic since they’ve been in Reno in 2013. He’s now at end-stage kidney failure, and Zelenin, a single mother whose daughter, 15, is too young and her mother is too old to serve as donors for Kirill, she said. Kirill has a blood type of A+.
Courtesy Kirill Timoshin recovers after his first transplant in the pediatric ICU in Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel in Petah Tikva.
She’s tried posting on social media sites and reaching out to the Washoe County School District for assistance. Dr. Lavjay Butani, who specializes in pediatric nephrology at UC Davis and has practiced medicine for 22 years, said there are different forms of inheritance for JPH and it’s possible to get spontaneous mutations of it as well, confirming Timoshin was the first in his family to be diagnosed with it. “We don’t exactly understand what the mechanism of the kidney injury is,” he said. “…But with living donors, nationally, a third of all transplants are able to find living donors. … (They) work better and last much longer, but it is harder to find a living donor. You need to find a blood type match.” Butani said donors must be healthy and without current medical conditions so as not to put a patient at risk. “Some lack the education, some lack the awareness, or some lack the willingness … and in families, there’s not a blood type match, and you don’t even have to be a family member,” Butani said. “It can be a friend or even a good Samaritan donor.” Without the transplant, Timoshin will require hemodialysis, an intravenous process by which the blood is filtered and purified to remove it of all poisons and extra fluids built up at a medical facility usually about three to four hours at a time for three to four times a week, Butani said. He could be referred to a local hospital, but a transplant still is preferred. Timoshin is completing school online and cannot go outside, Zelenin said. A third-year student at the University of British Columbia, he is minoring in psychology, cannot travel and remains on the wait list for a deceased donor’s kidney but has not been contacted to date. He and Zelenin travel to UC Davis nearly every month for appointments. “It’s very dangerous, so he takes classes at home and he’s not feeling so good,” she said. “His blood count and hemoglobin are very low. “Everybody’s sympathetic, but it’s not an easy decision,” she said. “It takes a special person (to be a donor).” For more information about UC Davis’ living kidney donation program, visit https://health.ucdavis.edu/transplant/livingkidneydonation/living-kidney-donation.html.