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September 1, 2017

Braden Decker needs a new kidney. His co-workers rally in support.

Members of the Admissions Office at Johnson County Community College have gathered around fellow employee Braden Decker, both literally and figuratively.

In the literal sense, they met in the Student Center for a photo shoot in matching T-shirts designed by Braden’s aunt that said “Donate Life.”

In the figurative sense, Admissions employees have gathered around Braden emotionally as he faces a kidney transplant.

“Everyone has been so helpful,” Braden said. “JCCC is a great place to work. My co-workers have been so supportive.”

Getting a transplant

Braden DeckerBraden, recruiter for JCCC, has Alport syndrome. The hereditary disease damages the blood vessels in the kidneys and can lead to kidney failure.

In Braden’s case, he was diagnosed in 2011 and was placed on the waiting list for a transplant in April 2016. When he posted on Facebook that he was looking for a donor, family and friends took compatibility tests. One former fraternity brother from his days at the University of Oklahoma-Norman was a match.

“He’s coming all the way from Baton Rouge to do this,” Braden said. “I was three years ahead of him in the house … and he wanted to help.”

Receiving support at JCCC

Braden's co-workers stepped up to cover for him when he needed help, he said.

Melisa Jimenez, recruitment coordinator, is Braden’s supervisor. “Braden has let us be part of his journey. He’s done an amazing job being part of the Admissions team. When he told us about the transplant, we couldn’t help but celebrate,” she said.

Braden singled out Julia Traff, Admissions clerk, as someone who had really helped out. Traff said it was a group effort of bringing food, making green ribbons (the color for kidney disease), coordinating the photographer, making a banner … “Our hope was to make the day as special as we could,” she said. “Braden is deserving in every way.”

Braden will be out of work to recuperate for eight weeks, and then the immunosuppressant drugs he’ll need to take will make him susceptible to illness for a while. His teammates are ready to help out however they can.

“I feel like I am where I am supposed to be in my life right now,” Braden said. “I’m here (at JCCC) because everyone here has supported me, and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to work. It’s been great.”

For more information

For information on kidney transplants, visit the National Kidney Foundation. You also can donate at the site. (Money goes to the Foundation, not directly to Braden.)

For information about working at JCCC, consult the College’s Careers page.