Bill Kuche, superintendent of the T1 Flagstaff Interagency Hotshots fire crew, has Stage 5 Chronic Kidney Disease and is in need of an organ transplant. His family has started a GoFundMe page to help find a donor.
As a firefighter — not just any crew member, but the superintendent of the T1 Flagstaff Interagency Hotshots — Bill Kuche over the years has tackled many assignments that have saved lives and property.
Now, the 49-year-old Flagstaff resident is facing is a major health crisis that threatens his own life.
Kuche has had chronic kidney disease since a childhood bout of the streptococcal virus — strep throat — but for more than 30 years has been able to work full-time as a firefighter and wildfire official, managing his condition through medication and a healthy lifestyle.
But last month, according to Kuche’s daughter, Grace, his regular blood work detected problems and his health swiftly declined. Last week, on the same day as his 20th wedding anniversary, Kuche had to be rushed to Flagstaff Medical Center for emergency surgery to prepare for dialysis.
His condition has worsened to Stage 5, his daughter said, and Kuche is on a waiting list to receive a kidney transplant. The family has started a GoFundMe page — www.gofundme.com/f/bill-kuche-needs-a-kidney — to search for a possible match. In just four days, the family had raised more than $53,000 to help with medical expenses.
As of Monday, Grace said, there have been some “leads” but still no donor match.