My dad will be traveling to Seattle the beginning of next year to donate a kidney to my cousin Stehanie. Stephanie has End-Stage Renal Disease, also known as stage 5 chronic kidney disease and currently has 10% kidney function. Her kidneys have continued to decline steadily over the past few years and if the transplant doesn't happen in the next few weeks/months she will be put on dialysis.
Stephanie became pregnant in 2011 and was looking forward to the arrival of a baby boy in January 2012. At 38 weeks her OBGYN ran blood tests when her blood pressure was elevated during a Friday check-up. The following Saturday, her doctor called and asked her to return to redo the blood work since they were concerned with the lab results. That weekend, she was admitted for what the doctors believed to be pre-eclampsia, a problem in pregnancy when the blood pressure rises to unsafe levels and can cause seizures (among a list of other problems for both mom and baby). The only way to cure pre-eclampsia is to deliver the baby so the doctors felt induction was the best thing to do. Several hours later, she and her husband, Will welcomed a healthy baby boy, Cameron. Over the next 4 days doctors continued to monitor Stephanie, but when the blood work didn’t show any sign of improvement they knew there was some other problem.
At the time of Cameron’s birth in January 2012, the doctors found Stephanie’s kidneys to be functioning at 35-40%. Looking back now, she would love to have that kind of function left. Later that year, in July 2012, her nephrologist (kidney doctor) recommended a high dose of prednisone after a biopsy produced a diagnosis of IgA Nephropathy. Stephanie took prednisone for 7 months, but showed little sign of stabilization with the kidneys. The plan from that point on was for her to wait and see how long the kidneys would hold on. Turns out...they had about 2-3 years in them.
The latest lab results show Stephanie is severely anemic and hemoglobin levels have reached an unsafe level. This is a problem and required a shot of a hormone typically produced by the kidneys. Without this hormone, hemoglobin levels would drop even lower and require a blood transfusion to get them to normal. A blood transfusion will alter her blood make-up and could make finding a donor, living or deceased, much more difficult.
Today, Stephanie’s uncle, JB Gallegos, is in the process of being tested to be a living donor. A gift that will save Stephanie’s life! When the transplant team at Swedish Medical Center, in Seattle, WA, puts the stamp of approval on JB, they will schedule the life-saving surgery.
We are trying to raise money my dad to travel to Seattle to save my cousins life. Anything you can contribute would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for reading their story and we hope this time next year we will be celebrating Christmas as a happy and healthy family.
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