CHARLEVOIX — It was a different type of birthday celebration this month for Christian “Buff” Vrondran.
The Charlevoix resident celebrated more than just another birthday — he celebrated a second chance at life.
He was put on the donor list, hoping to find a match quickly. He found that match, from an unlikely source — a long-time friend from high school and someone he works with at Wojan Window and Door.
“I told Christian that I would go get tested and I was a match,” said David Wilks, 34. “I didn’t expect to be a match, but I figured I would try. I never thought twice about it, and have absolutely no regrets.”
Earlier this month, the two friends traveled to Ann Arbor to undergo the transplant surgery. The surgery was scheduled for Sept. 9, Vrondran’s 32nd birthday.
“The surgery went really well and I’m feeling pretty good,” Vrondran said. “I don’t remember much of that day, it’s pretty blurry. I was sore for awhile, but recovery is going well so far.”
As part of his recovery, Vrondran travels to Ann Arbor most weeks for routine check-ups with his medical team. He will continue those check-ups for the next couple months.
“He really has his color back and looks really good, not as tired as he was before,” said Vrondran’s wife, Caytee. “He’s still a bit weak because the dialysis took away a lot of his muscle mass, so it will take some time for him to build that back up, but he’s doing great.”
Vrondran, who has three young boys, hopes to be back at work within the next year.
Wilks, who has four children with his wife, Nicole, is also recovering. He currently isn’t allowed to lift more than 10 pounds, but plans to return to work in November.
“I’m just really thankful,” Vrondran said. “That’s all I can really say. It was just an amazing thing (David) did.”
“There are no regrets. There’s no way I could have said no,” Wilks added.
The Vrondran family is looking for help to offset costs associated with Christian’s recovery and help with transportation costs for his visits to Ann Arbor for check-ups.
Those looking to make a donation can do so at Charlevoix State Bank branches, in the care of Caytee Scott-Vrondran.