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Living with Polycystic Kidney DiseaseMaryKatherine Michiels-Kibler

Five years ago, at age 13, I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease (PKD) after a series of visits to the emergency room with severe abdominal pain and vomiting. PKD, which causes cysts to grow on the kidneys, eventually leads to kidney failure and can cause a kidney to weigh up to 30 pounds. I am the youngest person in my family to be diagnosed. PKD is a genetic disease and parents with PKD have a 50 percent chance of passing the disease to each of their children. My mother, grandfather and great grandfather all have PKD.

Not only did I find out I had a genetic disease with no treatment or cure, I also had to learn it was a disease that despite affecting thousands in the U.S. and millions world wide had many unknowns and inconsistencies. While as a young teenager all I wanted to do was ignore this imperfection I realized that because I was diagnosed at such a young age, I had the opportunity to help. Unwilling to accept the feeling of powerlessness when facing PKD my mom and I turned to The PKD Foundation, an organization solely dedicated to finding treatments and a cure for PKD, to get involved in a brighter future for the disease.

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What is PKD?

Polycystic kidney disease or PKD is one of world's most common, life-threatening genetic diseases. The PKD Foundation is the only organization soley dedicated to finding treatments and a cure.

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Help give a voice to a widely unknown disease by sharing your story. Your experiences can paint a more powerful picture of what it's like to live with PKD.

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