Mike Snow, right, is shown with his partner, Carmen Sing. Snow, of Monmouth, was born with a single kidney that’s now failing. He’s hoping for a donor who may come forward to offer one. Submitted photo

Mike Snow just wants to spend more time with his family, particularly his four grandchildren.

He wants to feel better, but time is running out.

Snow, 60, is in desperate need of a kidney and has been waiting for a living donor to come forward to offer one.

A hard-working, generous soul, Snow, of Monmouth, always was first to lend a hand for someone in need. Now he finds himself on the other side of the coin.

“I never thought that I’d be in this predicament where I’d be asking for help,” Snow said Wednesday.

He was born with only one kidney, but didn’t know it until he went to the emergency room in his late 30s with a kidney stone.


“They did an ultrasound and the doctor was like, you’ve only got one kidney,” Snow recalled. “It was kind of a shock.”

Two years ago, 32 years into his employment with the state of Maine, most recently at the state archives, Snow learned from his primary care physician that his numbers were going down and his kidney was slowly failing.

Both he and his partner, Carmen Sing, retired last year to focus on his health. She had worked for Scientific Games, which serves the Maine State Lottery. They have four children between them and the grandchildren, two of whom are 2, one is 6 and the fourth is 16. They are unable to spend time with them indoors because Snow’s immune system is compromised. They have missed out on so much.

“I always planned on, when I retired, to take the kids, the grandbabies mostly, on trips,” Snow said, his voice breaking. “Now it’s like, if I don’t get help, that will never happen.”

A soft-spoken man, Snow said his first wife died of cancer when she was only 32. He took on extra part-time work to raise his two young daughters, which he did for many years until he met Sing.

He is grateful, he said, for his doctors and those who have been spreading the word about his quest for a kidney. Businesses have been posting flyers about it and he and his family have given out about 110 for people to stick on their vehicle windows. Anyone may email Snow at toysub7892@gmail.com to receive a flyer in the mail.


As much as he prays for a kidney — and people may get information about the process at shareyourspareformike@gmail.com — he said he also wants to spread the word about the need for organ donations in general. The average wait for a deceased kidney donor, he said, is three to five years.

“We want to let people know that living donation is a thing and you can survive quite nicely with only one kidney,” Sing said.

Snow is registered with the Maine Transplant Program at Maine Medical Center in Portland where the transplant would take place if a donor is identified. If someone comes forward and is not a match, that kidney could be given to another person waiting for a kidney, which would bump Snow up on the list to receive one, he said. Information on screening is available at mmc.donorscreen.org.

“That takes you directly to a page where you fill out a questionnaire that goes directly to Maine Transplant Program and they contact you,” Sing said. “They’re really nice people.”

Snow’s energy has been declining. He is on medications and a special diet, which keeps him mostly at home, watching the world go by from a quiet place.

“You slowly, gradually go down,” he said. “We try to keep active. We go for walks when the weather is nice. It’s hard. I can’t go too many places because my immune system is compromised. We do a lot of jigsaw puzzles. Carmen tries to keep me occupied but it’s hard because your mind is always racing. I’m always thinking, because I’m worried.”


Finding a living donor, he said, would be a “miracle.”

Sing is just as eager for someone to come forward who could save his life, which he so deserves.

“He’s just a hard-working, good-hearted person,” she said.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 35 years. Her columns appear here weekly. She is the author of the book “Comfort is an Old Barn,” a collection of her curated columns, published in 2023 by Islandport Press. She may be reached at acalder@centralmaine.com. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to centralmaine.com.

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