AUGUSTA — Ten years ago Todd Brennan asked his two brothers if they would consider donating a kidney to him because he was suffering end-stage kidney disease.

The Augusta native had been a Type 1 diabetic since age 12, when his pancreas quit producing insulin, and had been on a regular regimen of blood testing and insulin since then. One of the side effects of longtime diabetes can be damage to cells in the kidneys which filter waste from blood. Brennan’s kidneys were functioning at 26 percent.

Both Travis and Shane Brennan stepped up to the plate after Todd Brennan wanted to have a transplant rather than to undergo long-term dialysis.

But Todd Brennan, now 46 and living in Portland, was able to make some lifestyle changes and lower his sky-rocketing blood pressure.

“I made some changes about eating and what I was doing, and the kidneys actually got a little bit better,” he said.

A decade later, the problems of end-stage kidney disease returned.

“My kidney function had dropped down below 10 percent,” he said in a phone interview last week. “Now I’m on the fast track for getting things done for the transplant.”

Travis Brennan, 45, of Augusta, got a text from Todd asking if he was still willing to volunteer as the kidney donor. Yes, he was.

Initial tests were done on Travis, proving he was an almost perfect match.

“The biggest thing about this whole thing is that I’m saving a life,” Travis Brennan said last week. “If he doesn’t get a kidney, he might lose his life.”

The National Kidney Foundation’s website says that 17,107 kidney transplants took place in the United States in 2014. About a third of those came from living donors with more than 1,000 from full siblings.

Data on the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients shows that Maine Medical Center in Portland performed 51 kidney transplants between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015, with 29 of those from living donors and with a one-year survival rate of about 99 percent.

For their mother, Sheila Brennan of Augusta, the transplant surgery will be a double worry.

“My kids have never been hurt, never had operations, so this will be my first experience with this,” she said on Friday. “When the day comes, I’m sure I’ll be a wreck but not until they’re out of my sight.”

She’s also been reassured by people who have told her they have a transplanted kidney or another family member who does and that person is doing fine. She also is familiar with Type 1 diabetes because husband Steve Brennan was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a year before their son Todd.

The plan is to have the transplant surgery in the spring at Maine Medical Center once all pre-surgery items are completed.

In the meantime, Todd Brennan met with financial advisers through the Maine Transplant Program who asked him what he was doing for fundraising. Initially taken aback, he said, “Nothing.”

Then the adviser explained that while insurance would cover the bulk of transplantation costs, there were many things that would not be covered, so he set up a gofundme page called “Todd’s Kidney Transplant Fund” in hopes of raising $60,000.

“I’m not someone who’s comfortable reaching out and asking for money,” he said, but the response has proved overwhelming.

Within the first two weeks the site had raised more than $24,000, and many of the donors are involved in sports and played for or against or with the Brennan brothers.

“All three of my hockey coaches from high school,” said Todd Brennan, a 1987 graduate of Cony High School. “Kids I’ve played hockey against and friends I’ve had for so long that immediately stepped up.”

But he himself is currently benched.

“Unfortunately I can’t play right now,” he said. “If I was hit and went into kidney failure, it would not be a good situation. I do plan to be back on the ice.”

He’s on his final two clearances.

“One of them is dental,” he said. “I have to have extensive work.”

He’s been in the dentist’s chair three times over the past two weeks. He now preaches, “Don’t ever skip your dental exam.”

In the meantime, he continues working at Harbor Management, a property management firm in Portland.

Todd will be recovering with the help of Heather Kaufman,”an amazing girlfriend who has done so much to support me,” he said, and his son Riley, 17, a senior in high school, as well as the rest of his family.

Todd’s brother Travis Brennan, who has worked for 20 years in sales at Transco Business Solutions in Augusta, has no limits on his physical activity, playing softball and hockey and golf as well as helping to coach the Cony High School softball team.

“I can do anything I want,” he said, adding that he’s been told his recovery period will be about a month with a longer prohibition against heavy lifting.

He too is amazed at the response through the gofundme campaign.

“We’ve been seeing a lot of things and hearing from a lot of people we haven’t heard from in a long time sportswise, schoolwise and friendwise,” Travis Brennan said. And well-wishes and donations keep coming.

“The Brewer Softball Program wishes Travis and Todd the best,” read the sentiment accompanying its donation. “Although foes on the field, we certainly respect each other and wish a fast and full recovery to (you) both.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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