On a quiet street on the eastside of Columbus lives a modest family man enjoying as normal a life as possible.
In the process, he also serves as an inspiration to thousands of people across the country and around the world.
This local superhero to so many is kidney dialysis patient John Hrivnak, 41.
To him, however, he's just a normal guy. He gets up everyday, prepares for work, shares breakfast with his wife, commutes to the his office (the same one for the past six years), and puts in eight hours or more at work before returning home to have dinner with his family and then spend the evening helping any one of his three daughters with their schoolwork, playing Wii or just enjoying a quiet evening reading.
To most people, this is nothing special. However, most people do not hook themselves up to a home dialysis machine every night. His kidneys are dying, and without his machine, Hrivnak would not survive.
"I try to be as functional as can," Hrivnak said. "I don't want to feel worthless, that I can't do anything, so I try to do as much as I can. My wife and my girls try to do as much as they can."
As anyone with a serious illness knows, the most important thing to have is an accurate family medical history so that the best course of treatment may be made. Because Hrivnak was adopted as a baby, he did not have even the most basic information about his medical heritage or any hope of an immediate live donor match with a family member.
He needed a miracle.
In the state of Ohio, a judge must decide if a situation is dire enough to provide a person in a closed adoption with any information. It is the only hope anyone adopted in the state has to learn even the most basic information about his existence.
Hrivnak , with his wife Becky, petitioned the county probate court in the county of his birth for his records.
Along with a representative of the social service agency that handled his placement, the Hrivnaks sat down with a judge and explained his situation.
The judge decided that his condition was not "dire enough" and so refused to allow him access to his records, Hrivnak said. A compromise was to have Hrivak write out the questions he wanted answered, and if possible, someone from the court would ask the birth family if it would be willing to write a response.
Though not what he wanted, it was better than nothing, he said. So Hrivnak wrote his query.
As one who faces a challenge and does not necessarily accept defeat quietly, when some answers were handed over, Hrivnak turned to Search Angels, a group dedicated to helping birth families and adoptees connect.
With the small amount of information that was available, Hrivnak's "Angel," a birth mom herself, was able to locate his birth mother in about three weeks.
At first, Hrivnak's birth mom was not interested in being contacted. After letting it sit for a little time, Becky Hrivnak wrote a letter to the woman explaining the situation. It was not his intention to cause her any discomfort or pain, but he was sick and needed information, she said.
When his birth mother realized he needed her, she called the day she received Becky's letter, Becky Hrivnak said.
When Becky answered the phone, she said the first thing out of his birth mother's mouth was, "What's wrong with him?"
For the first time in 40 years, Hrivnak and his birth mother spoke. Two hours later, they hung up and have spoken almost every day since.
Hrivnak said he quickly learned the one thing that most adopted children want to believe - that he was loved and his adoption was painful for his birth mother.
With that, Hrivnak also learned he had a half-brother, Bill, and half-sister, both whom grew up with their mother. All of them expressed their love for him, he said.
Then the miracles truly began.
Immediately, both Bill and his sister told Hrivnak that they would be tested to see if they could donate a kidney.
Hrivnak's half-sister turned out to have the same blood type as John - the first step in being a match for a transplant.
Before she was able to complete the testing process, her brother Bill, who does not have the same blood type as Hrivnak, committed to be a paired match donor, which means that if the blood tests that he took a couple of weeks ago determine that he is a match to someone else on the waiting list for a kidney, then he may donate his kidney to that person and John may receive a kidney from another willing donor.
If they do not find a matched pair, it can become like a domino effect, and in the end, many people will receive the gift of life through selfless gifts by friends and family that are not a match to their loved one.
The family currently is in waiting to see how the matches play out, Hrivnak said.
With Mother's Day approaching, the new family will be busy and feel blessed, Becky Hrivnak said.
She adds those blessings include the miracle of home dialysis that allows her husband, with some adjustment, to be able to share his life with her and the girls.
"My goal is to be as positive a part of their lives so that the situation can be a blessing for everyone," John Hrivnak said. "I think that it is interesting to see how what could be viewed as a personal tragedy, organ failure, can turn into something so much more positive in my life. Not just medically, but the twists and turns that have allowed me to build relationships that may never have been possible."
As a home dialysis patient, John works with a number of professionals everyday whose purpose is to let him and all kidney disease patients live a quality life. Because of his dedication to maintaining his life style by learning how to care for himself, how to operate his dialysis machine, and his never-ending commitment to maintaining a normal life with his wife and three daughters, John has been named one of 31 Patient Champions by Fresenius Medical Care company.
Kathy Nolen, the home nurse that nominated John for the honor said, "John is an inspiration in how he has maintained his life and is a shining example that dialysis in not a death sentence."
He said being recognized is an honor.
"Many people live with this condition," he said. "I could not live day-to-day without the care of Kathy, Fresenius, and love and support of my wife Becky. People survive and thrive on dialysis, but the best would be if everyone could have a transplant. That is why the donor program is so important. Kidney disease does not discriminate."