'Share your spare': San Antonio dad uses truck to attract potential kidney donors

Shawn Turk, 32, diagnosed with Berger's disease


SAN ANTONIOUPDATE: David Campos, a KSAT reader, saw this article and donated his kidney to Shawn Turk. READ MORE


A San Antonio dad is hoping someone will "share their spare," and consider donating a kidney after he was diagnosed with Berger's disease.

Shawn Turk, 32, is a full-time HVAC technician, a husband and a father to a 3-year-old boy. In September, he was admitted to a hospital for what he thought was a severe cold.

Doctors instead diagnosed him with Berger's disease and delivered the life-changing news that he'd need to be immediately placed on dialysis.

Shawn Turk's wife, Emily Turk, said doctors were amazed that he was still alive with his kidneys only two percent functional. Emily Turk said that because they were unaware he had the disease, it progressed to a point where medication wasn't an option to stave off the need for dialysis.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Berger's disease occurs when immunoglobulin lodges in one's kidneys and causes inflammation that can hamper the kidneys' ability to filter waste from the blood.

His wife said he receives dialysis three times a week -- always in the evening because he works full-time to support their family. 

Emily Turk said she quit her job to raise their 3-year-old son and that when she volunteered to return to work so her husband could focus on treatment, he refused. 

Shawn Turk's parents were tested as donors, but were incompatible, Emily Turk said. Now, the family is scouring the city for a living donor as they endure the lengthy wait for a cadaver kidney.

Emily Turk said she and her husband purchased a magnet advertising his need for a kidney after seeing other success stories online.

"We thought, 'Why not?,'" she said via phone Friday.

The sign reads:

"Young Father Needs a Kidney
O Positive
Share your spare"

Emily Turk said they haven't received any calls about potential donors in the few months they've had the sign on their bright red truck. She said it's partially due to the fact that her husband predominantly drives his work truck and because doesn't take their truck out often.

Emily Turk said they've had to sideline plans to go to Disney World as Shawn Turk awaits a donor, but said they found an opportunity to do something fun as a family on Memorial Day and took their son to take his first ride on the Brackenridge train, near the San Antonio Zoo. A KSAT 12 viewer spotted the truck magnet and sent a photo of the sign to KSAT.

Read more about becoming a living kidney donor

Those interested in getting tested to donate a kidney to Shawn Turk can call Shawn at 210-391-6940.