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Hamilton Spectator photo

Hamilton Spectator photo

Arie Pekar, centre, and his mother Ilana Peka, right, are both waiting for new kidneys. Also shown, brother Joshua and wife Joy.

Pekars share story in hopes of finding donor

Like many parents and their children, Arie Pekar and his mom Ilana have much in common.

But unlike many people, among their bonds is the need for a kidney.

Arie was messing around one day with his mom’s blood pressure machine when he discovered his reading was exceptionally high.

Ilana used a blood pressure machine because at the time she was doing home dialysis for polycystic kidney disease, which causes cysts to develop and interfere with the organ’s ability to filter waste from the blood. Very high blood pressure is an early sign of this genetic disease.

Pekar was tested and, at age 21, he found out he had inherited the condition.

Because Pekar was diagnosed early, doctors were optimistic about his prognosis. But despite a healthy lifestyle and preventive treatments, his disease is progressing.

The Dundas resident, now 33, was told about a year ago to prepare for a kidney transplant. Friends and family have been tested and ruled out.

Arie’s wife, Joy, said although he doesn’t look sick, her husband is usually tired because the kidney is responsible for creating a hormone that triggers the body to create red blood cells.

The disease can also cause nausea, skin conditions and trouble with digestion. The cysts on Pekar’s kidney sometimes rupture, leaving him in extreme pain and incapacitated for up to a week.

“I am a private person but this is why we have had to come forward,” Pekar said. “We are at a point where we need to share our story.”

For more information on the Pekars, email

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