Former 6ABC reporter Don Polec, whose goofy feature stories for Action News kept viewers laughing for 27 years, had a serious medical condition for much of that time that finally required a life-saving transplant.

Don was dealing with polycystic kidney disease or PKD. Polic, 70, was diagnosed with the condition in his early 40's, according to a report on 6ABC.

"It didn't really surprise me that I had this because my mother passed away from that when she was 40 years old. I was just a kid. I was 11. It causes your kidney function to gradually go down."

Polycystic kidney disease or PKD causes cysts to consume the kidneys.

Polec, who left 6ABC in 2009, was able to continue a fairly normal life for many years while waiting on the kidney transplant list. He says he had close calls with possible transplants many times over the years, but it never worked out.

"I was a backup probably a dozen times," Don said.

But in February of 2020, the call was for real, and he rushed to Lehigh Valley Hospital.

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The transplant surgery was a success, and Polec has been able to resume his life, still full of wit and humor and happy to experience it.

"It's like it never happened," he said in the 6ABC interview.

Polec's doctor says 94% of transplanted kidneys are going strong a year later and last about a decade.

But that wasn't the end of his health concerns. Polec came down with COVID-19 last fall. He says a new study predicts that COVID-19 will create a new wave of people needing dialysis or transplants.

For more information on registering to become an organ donor, visit: Gift of Life Donor Program and the National Kidney Foundation.

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