Henning Fellinghaug is a Norwegian who has been living in Los Angeles for the last 10 years. In November 2014 he was rushed to hospital by his doctor after an alarming blood test and severe anemia (the doctor thought Henning had leukemia). At Kaiser Permanente the doctors performed numerus of tests and it was confirmed that Henning had Chronic Kidney failure, caused by a virus he caught when he lived in England in 1992. This was a complete chock to Henning who had always lived a healthy and active life. His kidney condition was pretty bad, so the doctors rushed him to perform a surgery so he could start with peritoneal dialysis early January 2015. With only 4% kidney function it was crucial to start with peritoneal dialysis to control his chronic kidney failure while starting to rebuild his strength and health and prepare for a kidney transplant at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles. The road was clear, but the journey was long; Henning who is 6’5 had dropped from 225 lb. to 176 lb. while waiting for peritoneal dialysis, but with intense training and dieting he managed to gain 25 lb. back in 2015.
At first Henning was very private about what happened to him, and he only told his closest friends and family – his biggest fear was that people would pity him. Truth be told, he could not have been more wrong. From day one he has been met with unconditional love, support and respect. Despite keeping it somewhat private, 9 people came forward and offered to donate one of their kidneys. “I must have done something right in life” says Henning who was overwhelmed with the love and support he received from his potential donors. Henning is blood type O Positive, but due to some luck with his antibodies he can receive a kidney from blood type O, A and B. Out of the nine, seven of them have sadly so far been disqualified due to age, blood type, medical and psychological reasons. The remaining two are not qualified yet to be considered a potential donor. That said, Henning remain positive and in good spirit – I only need one he said.
Diana Keinejad is one of Henning’s closest and dearest friends, and she has been by his side this entire journey and she is adamant on trying to help in any capacity she can. As one of the top fashion designers in Los Angeles, she decided to make a fashion show in Malibu on October 1st 2016 and teamed up with Chris Breed and Breed Life Organization to create awareness and educate people on Kidney Failure and donor support program.
“Friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest… It’s about who came and never left your side when you needed it the most” says Henning – “Diana showed me what true friendship is, I hope one day I can live up to it”.