Father and son crusade against deadly disease

Posted by Morgan Chesky - bio | email

By Bob Hallmark

LONGVIEW,TX (KLTV)- It's a little known illness, that has scientists searching for a cure. Poly cystic Kidney Disease or P.K.D. affects more than 1300 East Texans.

Ryan Stephens is a happy 21 year old, a lucky fiancee, and a longtime fighter of Poly cystic Kidney Disease. "I didn't really know what it was at first and I didn't really understand it," said Stephens. "I grew up, I always had a lot of digestive issues and a lot of symptoms before I was 10 years old so being diagnosed with P.K.D. answered a lot of questions as to why I was so sick as a kid."

Hundreds came out for the P.K.D. walk at Letourneau University to support funding and research for the disease. "Its kind of crazy that people don't know what P.K.D. is because 12 million people around the world have it," said Stephens.

Ryan's father Rick Stephens, who also has P.K.D., didn't know it until he checked his birth father's history. "On my birth father's side I found P.K.D. was a rampant disease all of the siblings in that family had it," said Rick.

Doctors offer treatment, but no cure.

"There are multiple treatments and there are lots of drugs that are being tested right now," said Ryan.

"He lives life to the fullest and that's what I love about him, he's the most joyful person I know," said Ryan's fiancee, Amanda Anderson.

Ryan has one hope through events like these. "Hopefully we'll knock it out before I have kids and they have to inherit this disease."

More than 200 people participated in the P.K.D. walk this morning. Ryan and Amanda plan to get married in January.

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