Mike Abernathy

Dialysis patient Mike Abernathy has a love of motorcycles, a passion and hobby he has been nurturing since he was a teenager.

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Mike confesses to an affinity to all motorized vehicles, which began when he was just seven years old and started spending time in the garage of a neighbor who introduced him to the world of race cars. His neighbor encouraged him to study his mathematics so that he could one day practice mechanics on his own.

Over the years, Mike has owned a series of motor scooters and motorcycles and even drove formula cars in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) in the 1980s.

“To me, nothing sounds better than a highly modified engine at full song,” Mike says.

But in June 2006, when Mike was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), commonly known as kidney failure, he feared he may have to give up his beloved 1981 Moto Guzzi G-5, the most recent addition to his motorcycle chronology, due to his intense medical treatments and physical limitations.

Mike became ill and was told by his doctors that his kidneys were failing. In addition to the challenges related to his kidney disease, he went through several medical procedures including having four stints placed in his heart, gallbladder surgery and recovering from a severe catheter infection. He was in the hospital for more than 10 weeks with, according to Mike, “a few days off for good behavior.” He was in such medical trauma he lost approximately 70 pounds, dropping from 190 to120 pounds in a matter of weeks.

Nancy, his devoted wife of more than 18 years, was Mike’s biggest advocate and greatest strength in the months following his hospitalization. Mike feels very blessed that Nancy was there for him—providing constant care for the eight months it took him to fully recover. Without her support, Mike knows his medical journey would have been much more difficult.

Following his surgeries, Mike was too weak in the initial months to perform the maintenance necessary to keep his motorcycle running. But with the help of dedicated friends and fellow motorcyclists who spent weekends in his garage performing routine maintenance, his Guzzi was ready to ride as soon as Mike regained strength.

As his condition improved, he first started taking short rides around his neighborhood. Today, he walks two miles each evening to keep himself active and rides his motorcycle to dialysis three times a week at Central Florida Kidney Center in Orlando.

With the help of dedicated caregivers and staff at Central Florida Kidney Center, where Mike has regular treatments every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, he and his wife are initiating the process for a possible kidney transplant. Mike’s brother Pete, who resides in Cincinnati, OH, is a potential donor.

The days he is not dialyzing, Mike works part-time at a friend’s cabinetry shop in the Orlando area. Before Mike was diagnosed with kidney disease, he had his own cabinet shop, where he designed and built custom cabinetry.

Mike has faced many obstacles in the past eighteen months, but thanks to quality medical care, routine dialysis treatments and, most importantly, a loving wife, he is enjoying life again.

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