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Independence teacher searches for a new kidney for her husband

November 12, 2018

Independence teacher searches for a new kidney for her husband

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Anyone passing through Independence sees the normal marquee business signs and city banners, but for the past month, they have also been seeing flyers about a man in need of a new kidney.

Benjamin Miller, 31, has been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. According to www.kidneyfund.org, this disease means there is lasting damage to the kidneys that can get worse over time. This can result in hindering how other parts of the body function.

In Miller’s case, this disease developed through no fault of his own. When he was born, the doctors knew he had kidney issues because he was born with a fever. He underwent several surgeries as a child to fix the valves in his kidney, but he and his family knew this would not be a permanent solution.

His disease meant that one day he would need a kidney transplant, and that time has come.

Miller’s wife, Rio Vincz-Miller, explained that it is uncommon for someone so young to need a kidney transplant.

Vincz-Miller teaches gifted and advanced students at Independence Middle School. She started posting flyers around the city about her husband’s condition a month ago. The flyers have a photo of Benjamin Miller, bullet points of information and tabs with the Cleveland Clinic website address to apply for the organ donation process.

Vincz-Miller said that she decided to post flyers due to “desperation and the surprise [factor].” Initially, she and her husband thought a family member might step up, but when no one came forward, they had to look elsewhere.

The flyer states that they are “desperate to contact the most thoughtful and selfless stranger who can save him.”

When asked to describe her husband, Vincz-Miller said, “He is the kindest person that most people have ever met.”

He performs everyday acts of kindness as a part of his regular routine, she said.

Vincz-Miller said he is the kind of person who would go out of his way to deliver her lunch if she forgot it. If he meets a waiter or other service worker with a name tag, he makes an effort to call them by their name so that they feel acknowledged.

His volunteer service includes a sect of the Boy Scouts called Venture Crew 575, planting trees in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and raking leaves for senior citizens.

Vincz-Miller and her husband met while attending Kent State University and were married on Oct. 21, 2017. Miller currently works as a prototype technician at Landi Industries. He likes cats, dancing and is a talented musician, playing both guitar and piano.

“He is troubled by his illness, but manages to keep it positive,” Vincz-Miller said.

Flyers are not the only way she has attempted to bring awareness to Miller’s condition. Vincz-Miller posted the flyer on social media and asked others to share with their churches, workplaces or any other public area.

She said that Miller is humbled by her efforts.

“The disease has taken a toll on his self-esteem. He didn’t expect [this level] of support -- even people just asking how he is. He is thankful,” she said.

While some people have come forward with concern for Miller and his condition, there is no way for him to know if anyone is close to completing the donor process. The only way for him to know if someone will go through with the donation is if they were to come forward to say so themselves. Even if he were to call the Cleveland Clinic to see how things were progressing, due to confidentiality, the clinic cannot disclose that information.

Miller recently started dialysis, which is a short-term solution to keep him healthy. While it is effective early on, eventually it will result in total organ failure.

It takes roughly one to two months for a donor to be cleared to give an organ.  The process begins with an initial survey about a person’s weight, if they use drugs and other general health questions. If the survey clears, they are given a full head-to-toe examination to check for any abnormalities, including a thorough examination of a person’s bloodwork.

If the person matches Miller’s needs, they can choose to go forward with more tests and an eventual donation.

Those interested in donating must go to www.clevelandlivingdonor.org. The information needed for the survey is under the name “Benjamin Miller” and his birthdate of 5/28/1987. Questions? Contact Rio Vincz-Miller at 440-241-7838.

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