Local News13 Connects13 Days and Knights of Giving


Mother giving the gift of life

Posted at 10:29 PM, Dec 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-17 20:12:02-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A Las Vegas valley man says the worst strain of E. coli nearly cost him his life. Stephen Shaffer is in desperate need of a kidney transplant. This holiday season one mom wants to give the gift of life.

This year 13 Action News, along with our 13 Connects partners and The Vegas Golden Knights Foundation, are delivering much needed surprises to people across the valley.

Stephen Shaffer was nominated for our 13 Days and Knights of Giving program by his mother Jill, who moved her entire life here to Las Vegas in hopes of saving her son's life.

35-year-old Shaffer never had any health issues. But that changed nearly 3 years ago after dining out.

"I had symptoms of diarrhea and being sick," said Shaffer.

After a trip to urgent care, he was sent home with medication. But Shaffer kept having issues. So he went back to the doctor.

"Doctor said take this double the dose you know and I went back to work," said Shaffer.

But then days later, unbearable pain. Shaffer is rushed to the E.R. where he hears devastating news.

"Your kidneys are failing and that they don't know why," said Shaffer.

Shaffer was rushed into surgery and put on dialysis. During the 21 days in the hospital, he was treated for pneumonia, colitis, fluid around his heart, kidney failure and diagnosed with a strain of E. Coli which Shaffer thinks initially went untreated after dining out.

Now he is left with this: "I got a port to do dialysis," said Shaffer.

With only 10% kidney function, he is in need of a new kidney to keep him alive.

His mother, Jill Roskowski, knew she had to help. She has raised money by posting fliers for his medical expenses and nominating Shaffer for our 13 Days and Knights of Giving.

Shaffer's mother is overcome by what he has to do to stay alive. Dialysis seven days a week, four hours a day, while he still works.

"We knew he wasn't going to get enough kidney function back to ever get off dialysis... I was hoping to be a donor to give my kidney to him," said Roskowski.

After extensive testing at UCLA, some life saving news.

"I will be donating my kidney. I am excited I can do this," said Roskowski.

But with the kidney transplant surgery scheduled at UCLA Medical Center on Jan. 6 comes medical bills and a more than two months stay in Los Angeles, Calif.

"It's been a tough time for both of you. After hearing your story I know that," said Tricia Kean. "So the Vegas Golden Knights Foundation wants to contribute $10,000 towards your medical bills. They are holding an event in your honor and this is the golden ticket to that event."

"I am so thankful, it's amazing. I don't know what to say," said Roskowski.

"But there's more" Kean added. "A GoFundMe account has been set up in your name to help with all of this and the medical costs. So we are hoping our viewers help as well."

The cost of a kidney transplant can cost $400,000 when all is said and done. So if you would like to help Shaffer with the cost of his kidney transplant surgery you can donate to his GoFundMe account here.

13 Days and Knights of Giving is sponsored by Golden Knights Foundation, Subaru of Las Vegas and America First Credit Union.