Iraq Veteran Needs Kidney Transplant

Marine Sgt. Jake Chadwick fought in Iraq, and he returned home to face another battle

By Kim Baldonado and Julie Brayton
|  Tuesday, Mar 1, 2011  |  Updated 2:14 PM PDT
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Marine Sergeant Jake Chadwick Survived While Fighting for his Country in the Desert Sands of Iraq, but Back Home he is now Fighting for his Life.  Chadwick Desperately Needs a Kidney Transplant to Survive

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Marine Sergeant Jake Chadwick Survived While Fighting for his Country in the Desert Sands of Iraq, but Back Home he is now Fighting for his Life. Chadwick Desperately Needs a Kidney Transplant to Survive

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Jacob Chadwick enlisted in the military on his 18th birthday. A year later, he was in Iraq.

More Information: Donate a Kidney

After his tour of duty, he married Victoria and re-enlisted for another four years. The young couple could not have been happier to learn a baby would soon complete their family, but it was a bittersweet time.

Ella Marie was born at the same time they learned Sgt. Chadwick had kidney failure and needed a transplant.

"It was very stressful, because it's a time of joy, but then in the back of my head I knew something was wrong," said Victoria.

"I never, could in a million years picture this happening. I always wanted to be that great dad, to be out there and not be tired when she's growing up and she wants to go do things. I want to be there for her," said Sgt. Jacob Chadwick.

No one in his family is a match, so Jacob must endure four hours of dialysis, three times a week while he waits for a donor. Finding a match could take five years.

"Our relationship was tested in the beginning with my deployment, which we made it through, and we thought that was the ultimate test," said Sgt. Chadwick.

The Chadwick's may be living away from their families, but they're getting a lot of support from their extended military family, thanks to Operation Gratitude.

While Jacob was in Iraq, Victoria kept herself busy volunteering with Operation Gratitude, an organization which sends care packages to troops overseas. Now that group is giving back to the Chadwick's, sending e-mails to it's thousands of contacts, telling Jacob's story and asking people to consider becoming a donor.

"We got an e-mail today from an 83 year old World War II vet who wants to donate their kidney and it's so touching," said Victoria Chadwick.

They've received hundreds of e-mails from around the country, offering moral support and words of encouragement. Even if they don't find a donor, the Chadwick's say they've already been blessed.

"The outcome is going to be what it is, whatever the case may be, but just the show of support is incredible. I've never experienced anything like it," said Sgt. Chadwick.

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