One Realtor’s Message to “Share a Spare”

Lynda and Loyd Brookshire of Gulf Shores, Alabama.  Loyd is dealing with kidney disease.

When Realtor® Lynda Brookshire shares her tagline “Live your best life at the Alabama Gulf Coast,” she is thinking beyond real estate and relocating to sandy shores. Along with helping clients find their dream home, she is dedicated to letting the community know that health is wealth. Her friends and family tease that “she is gonna get you a house or get you a kidney…or both.”

Brookshire and her husband, Loyd, moved to Gulf Shores in October 2017.  After a series of health challenges that landed Loyd in the hospital multiple times within a span of two years, Brookshire realized it was her mission to increase awareness for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), organ donation, and the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. She believes sharing their experience can help others give, receive, or maximize the gift of life.

The couple began tackling Loyd’s kidney disease, believed to be hereditary, head-on from the onset. “The heart and the kidneys are like a push and pull- one affects the other.  They’re vascular organs.  In our case, the doctors didn’t initially realize that his kidneys were causing the high blood pressure. They treated him for high blood pressure for years instead of finding the root cause.  It was the kidneys all along,” said Brookshire. After a hospitalization in 2018 for kidney bleeding, organ failure and sepsis in December 2019, and another hospitalization for high blood pressure in June 2021, the Brookshires dug in their heels to get answers.

Loyd converted to vegetarian and pescatarian diets in 2019, allowing him to eliminate the need for insulin and other medications, buying him more precious time before entering the waiting list for a transplant. They became hyper-organized with a leather folder, discs, and paper copies of Loyd’s complete health history.  They visited numerous physicians and nephrologists to learn as much as possible, researched the right questions to ask in advance, and inquired about cutting-edge research related to CKD. Reading about pig-to-human kidneys transplants at University of Alabama and robotic kidney transplants at the Cleveland Clinic helped them keep their fingers on the pulse of nephrology. Brookshire recommends that every patient does this type of deep dive so that medical providers “don’t have the chance to say no” while advocating for your personal health or exploring treatment options.

Loyd’s case, unfortunately, is not rare. According to the National Kidney Foundation®, 37 million people in the United States have chronic kidney disease, and 100,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that as many as 9 in 10 adults with CKD are unaware they have the disease. It’s more common in those 65 years and older.

Brookshire is leveraging her real estate business to talk to as many people as possible and believes that there is no such thing as an accidental meeting or bad timing. To her, it’s the opportunity to make someone aware of subjects that are not discussed enough: CKD and overall health.

“People should know what being a donor means. You are only able to donate if you are a match, and there is an extensive process to figure that out. Donors can live a healthy life with one kidney and give the gift of life to someone else, so the transplant team goes to great lengths to maximize the chances of a successful transplant,” says Brookshire.

Additionally, Brookshire speaks to the importance of healthy living and self-care for prevention and knowing the right questions to ask when visiting a medical professional. “I don’t know who my information will touch, but I know that it could save someone’s life,” says Brookshire.

Loyd Brookshire moved to the transplant list at the University of Alabama (UAB) Kidney Transplant Center in April 2022. He awaits his perfect match, along with over 1,100 others on UAB’s list. He is maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle to stay off dialysis as long as possible. Brookshire has already named his future kidney “Billy the Kid(ney)” and is looking forward to the future with Lynda, their adult children, and grandchildren. Finding a living donor is his best option, and there are currently 3 people in line to test for a match. The couple have faith that no matter what the future brings, all will turn out as it should. They are eager to find the person who will “Share a Spare.”

“I encourage anyone interested in learning more about CKD or donation to get in contact,” says Brookshire. “I’m a real estate agent… I know how to answer the phone day or night!”

Could you be someone who could give the gift of life? Contact Lynda at 251-978-4078 or to discuss the process.

To follow the Brookshire’s journey and to learn more about chronic kidney disease, follow their Facebook page, “Are You Kidney’ing Me.”

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