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Beloved Whitefish teacher seeking kidney transplant

Posted at 10:37 PM, Sep 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-11 00:50:33-04

Sean Duff, a beloved Whitefish middle school teacher, is now fighting for his life following an unexpected kidney diagnosis.

"I was working out to get in shape, lost a lot of (weight) and then quit working out and actually ended up losing more weight without really doing a lot. Which was weird, especially being a guy you kinda attribute it to nothing, oh that's not a big deal,” explained Duff.

What started off as a normal doctor’s appointment for Duff soon turned out worse. The doctors told Duff he had unusual blood levels and informed him he needed to get the emergency room immediately.

"They put three IVs in one arm, two in the other. And they're like you have severe kidney failure. We don't know why but that's not the problem right now. You're in critical condition because of the levels in your blood," said Duff.

Doctors soon discovered Duff had Polycystic Kidney Disease , a hereditary disease he was completely unaware of.

Duff told MTN News that neither one of his parents exhibited the disease. While normal kidneys filter out toxins in the body, Duff's kidneys were different.

"Those extra nutrients don't get trapped in my kidneys because it has cysts all over it and develop holes and so when the blood goes through it it doesn't trap any of the toxins. Which we urinate out, so it goes right back into my blood," explained Duff.

And he soon found out this disease was serious -- it almost cost him his life.

"My calcium levels dropped, which caused me to have a seizure, and I coded for about 45 seconds," explained Duff.

To prevent this from happening again, Duff desperately needs a kidney transplant. But in the meantime, he goes to dialysis three times a week, which mimics what healthy kidneys would do.

As an escape, Duff turns to his fifth grade students at Whitefish Middle School.

"It didn't let my mind think about all the what ifs and the scariness of things which was really good. So, it was great to be able to have school," said Duff.

Duff has a positive outlook on his disease and continues not to let it stop him from doing the things he loves like hiking, fishing and hunting.

As a Whitefish native, Duff wants to thank everyone in the Whitefish community for showing their support during his difficult diagnosis.