ST. LOUIS - What would you do for a friend facing a grave illness? Two local police detectives are discovering the true depth of their friendship.
One needs a kidney, and the other won't stop until he finds one.
Dan Keim, 52, is a St. Louis County police Detective in the burglary division. Det. Dave Bauer is a sergeant with the Missouri Highway Patrol. They've shared the ups and downs of life as only friends of 31 years can do.
"We play golf together, our kids kind of grew up together," said Dan.
But nothing compares to what these two are up against now.
"I feel like it's a ticking time bomb," said Dan.
That ticking time bomb is called Berger's Disease, a rare disorder that destroys the kidneys. Dan was diagnosed when he was 17. Back then, even doctors disagreed about the prognosis.
"My third doctor, he said it's 100 percent chance your kidneys are going to fail it's not a matter of if it's a matter of when," said Dan.
Life for Dan went along without any major health problems until about six years ago. Doctors told him then his kidney function had dropped to about 55 percent. By September of 2013, it was down to 20 percent. Right now it's at 16.
This officer, husband and father of two will need dialysis very soon. And definitely a kidney transplant. Dave took the news hard.
"When he called me, it wasn't surprising," said Dave. "But it's like okay we have to deal with this."
The ideal outcome would be a kidney from a live donor. Dave's not a candidate because he's not the right blood type. But a handful of people are exploring the possibility, including Dan's son and Dave's daughter.
"You know a call from Dave that someone has come forward, it's very emotional," said Dan.
But until one is found, more donors need to be screened. So Dave sat down and wrote an open letter he's forwarding to everyone he knows.
It reads: "This is a plea to all who can help a dedicated public servant who has dedicated his life to serve his neighbors, friends and the people of St. Louis County. Now he needs our help."
"He can't really go out and say 'Hey, I'm Dan Keim, I need a kidney,'" said Dave. "So I thought I'll go out and say, 'Hey, I'm Dave Bauer and he needs a kidney.'"
It's an uncomfortable position for these two law enforcement veterans, used to giving, not taking. But Dave has faith that the community they've taken care of for so long, will now step up in Dan's hour of need.
"He's paying it forward, so now I'm just hoping someone will come forward and pay it forward to him in a big way," said Dave. "It's a lot to ask."
If you're interested in exploring the possibility of being a living kidney donor for Dan Keim, contact St. Louis University's transplant office at 314-577-8867 and ask for Dan's transplant coordinators, Sherry or Ellen.
For more information about living organ donors, visit Kidney.org.