Chris' story: 2 transplants in 25 years | Ascension

Chris' story: 2 transplants in 25 years

Chris Bastin doesn’t remember undergoing his first kidney transplant when he was four years old, but his scars are a reminder.

Bastin had a kidney transplant at such a young age because he was born with a disorder that affected his kidney function. When his transplanted kidney started to fail again when he was 23, he began the long wait to receive his second kidney.

For six years, Bastin, now 29, underwent regular, ongoing dialysis sessions – an experience he describes as akin to a full-time job. "I quit my job as a transporter because I had to be hooked up to a dialysis machine for four hours, three times a week," he said. "It's physically and emotionally draining."

Bastin said it was also exhausting the amount of time he and his parents spent trying to qualify for transplant requirements at different centers. He recalled they made a 12-hour round trip to Gainesville for a 30-minute office visit.

When he was notified that there was a kidney donor match and he only had a 15-minute drive from his home in Pensacola to Ascension Sacred Heart's Kidney Transplant Center, it was the news he had been waiting for. Bastin said he's grateful that he had an experienced local team available when the time came.

Drs. Wen Xie and Alp Demirag are kidney transplant surgeons at Ascension Sacred Heart. Xie said the transplant center in Pensacola, which is affiliated with the University of Florida Health, is providing a vital lifeline to people in Northwest Florida. The nearest kidney transplant center to the west of Pensacola is three and-a-half hours away and six hours away to the east, she said.

"Traveling can take a financial toll on transplant recipients and their families because the patient has to go to appointments one to two times per week for three months after transplantation," Xie said. "A kidney transplant is more than having the surgery, it requires a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle and receiving ongoing medical care."

Four months after Drs. Xie and Demirag performed his transplant, Bastin is envisioning a life that he didn't think was possible while he was on dialysis.

"My family and I are so grateful for this opportunity, and to the families who make the decision to save a life through donation," he said. "With a new kidney I have the opportunity to do the things I used to enjoy, like eating different foods, participating in recreational activities, and working towards my new life post-transplant."

For more information on Ascension Sacred Heart Transplant Program call 850-416-1080 or visit