Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Jasmine and Jeremy

They were always close, as twins usually are. They were teammates as little kids on baseball and basketball teams. When they got to high school at Punahou, Jeremy was a state champion in football and baseball and Jasmine starred in softball.

On this birthday, though, the twins are separated by 300 miles. Jasmine, who played softball at Weber State, is completing her final semester at the Ogden, Utah, campus and helping out as a volunteer assistant coach. Jeremy is with the rest of the family in Boise, Idaho, where they moved in 2012.

But the twins are closer than ever in their hearts.

Jeremy needs a new kidney. Jasmine is his best bet. She is undergoing tests to see if she is a match for a transplant.

"When I actually think about the possibility of surgery it's a little scary, but I just think about getting my brother better," she said. "I just want to get him a kidney as soon as possible."

Jeremy has a rare disease, IgA nephropathy, that has wracked his body for more than 21⁄2 years, including decreasing his kidney function to 1 percent.

If he were healthy, he might be at the NFL Combine this week, preparing for a chance at a pro football career.

Instead, he continues to deal with dialysis five times a week — including hemo dialysis three times a week, which requires a catheter in his heart for an infection there. That takes three to four hours, at a dialysis center. The other treatment is at home, but takes eight to 10 hours while he is sleeping.

And he continues to await a transplant.

Medical and associated expenses, even after insurance, will be huge. Ioane's coverage as a Boise State athlete expired in January, and catastrophic injury insurance via the NCAA is not available because the illness is not from playing football. Insurance will likely cover a sizable amount, but far from everything.

There will also be Jasmine's expenses to consider, even if she isn't a match as a donor.

A donation fund organized by Boise State has raised $74,000 and a group in Hawaii is initiating fundraising efforts; there is an email account at 808forjeremyioane@gmail.com, and donations to "Friends of Jeremy Ioane" can be mailed to PO Box 300333, Kaaawa, HI 96730 or dropped off at any First Hawaiian Bank branch.

-- by Dave Reardon

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