Chris Parker (L) donated one of his kidneys to his brother, Nick Parker (R), who underwent a kidney transplant at Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis, due to a failed kidney. Photo by Jennifer Peryam, Times-Union
Chris Parker (L) donated one of his kidneys to his brother, Nick Parker (R), who underwent a kidney transplant at Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis, due to a failed kidney. Photo by Jennifer Peryam, Times-Union
CLAYPOOL - Nick and Chris Parker were close as brothers could be growing up.

Chris, 22, recently donating his kidney to his brother, Nick, 21, has strengthened the siblings' bond even more now that they are both adults.

A year and a half ago, Nick said he began experiencing pain in both of his kidneys. He also was experiencing back pain, had headaches and was overly exhausted.

Nick hurt his knee two years ago and his blood pressure was checked and he was informed it was abnormally high. Doctors also found problems with his kidneys, and Nick was referred to a pathologist. He was put on kidney dialysis in October 2008.

Nick and Chris underwent a five-hour kidney transplant surgery at Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis, Feb. 13.
Chris now has one functional kidney. Nick has one functional kidney and two of his original kidneys that he described as the size of small grapes.

The brothers, both college students, are the sons of Debra and Michael Parker, Claypool. They have two sisters, Amanda Wuthrich, Milford, and Lindsey Jones, Warsaw; and a brother, Travis Parker, St. Louis, Mo. Their grandparents are Charles and Sandra Spillman, Leesburg, and Barb Parker, Warsaw.

Nick was on a waiting list for five months to receive a healthy kidney, but said it was worth the wait.

While Nick was on the waiting list, his father and brothers Chris and Travis were tested to see if their kidneys could be used for Nick's transplant.

Nick's father and brother Travis were found to have kidney stones and did not qualify to donate their kidneys.

Chris underwent a physical examination and it was determined he had a healthy kidney. He decided to donate his kidney to his brother.

"I was comfortable having Chris donate his kidney as long as he was fine with it," Nick said. "I told Chris if he donated his kidney to me he would be my hero and he is."

Chris said he was nervous at first about donating his kidney.

"I was thinking about my future when considering whether or not to donate my kidney," Chris said. "I realized God had created my body, and I didn't think I needed my second kidney as much as my brother did."

The brother's parents said they relied on family, church friends from Warsaw Missionary Church where they attend, God and the support from their sons' schools.

"It was hard having one child undergo a surgery, but to have two at the same time was even harder," Michael said.

Debra said she was not surprised her son Chris made the decision to donate his kidney to his brother.

"Since Chris was little he always looked out for Nick because he is the older brother," Debra said. "We are proud of both of our sons for sticking it through the transplant surgery."

She said the first thing Chris did after he was recovering at the hospital from his surgery was to check on Nick.

"He took his walker and went to the other side of the hospital to make sure his brother Nick was recovering from receiving the kidney," Debra said.

Nick took a month to recover before returning to Ivy Tech Community College where he is taking general studies. He is employed as a chef at Lifeline Youth Services and said he is interested in aviation.

Nick is on medication and goes to monthly medical appointments.

He enjoys playing on his church's softball team and enjoyed the family's recent trip to the Indiana Dunes.

Chris also recovered for a month before returning to Grace College where he studies elementary education and will be a senior this fall.

He is a chef at Cerulean Restaurant, Winona Lake. He said after graduation his goal is to teach elementary school in Warsaw.

Chris said, although he does not have his full strength back, he looks forward to when he can play a full game of basketball.