Jessica's Kidney Donation to Juniper

Our amazing friend Jessica (orange dress), a single mom of two young children, donated a kidney to her younger sister, Juniper (in her wedding dress), on May 7. Both sisters are recovering in the hospital this week. They will be unable to work for several weeks following surgery and needs help to support their families during this time. Here is their story:

At age 14, Juniper got Henoch-Schonlein purpura, a disease that involves purple spots on the skin, joint pain, and other potential complications. In a very small percentage of cases, it can lead to end-stage kidney disease, requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant may be needed.

When she was 24, Juniper discovered she had kidney disease. For the past ten years, she has managed her chronic kidney disease through medication and lifestyle - her kidneys have lasted much longer than the doctors thought they would! However, over the last couple of years her kidney function has steadily decreased. She is now down to 10% kidney function and in need of a life-saving transplant.

There was never a doubt in my mind that I would be a match for her. And I never thought twice about donating. Juniper is not only my sister, she is one of my best friends and is a close and loving aunt to my two children. She is especially close to my kids because she can't have her own due to her medical condition. Even though we are 10 years apart in age, we are extremely close - taking family vacations together, having regular family dinners and impromptu disco dance parties! She is quiet and shy (especially compared to me) so when she does her howler monkey impression it is quite a shock! We became close as adults, and when our mom passed away two years ago, Juniper and I were with her as she took her last breath - that only made us closer.

As a recently divorced mom of two and part-time elementary school teacher at my children's school, I am always on a tight budget. Taking up to 6 weeks off from work will be really challenging financially for my family. Disability insurance pays a percentage of my salary, but it doesn't cover the additional hours I work before school monitoring the computer lab or subbing in the after-school enrichment program. I have taken catering jobs in the past to supplement my income, but I will be unable to do that type of work during my recovery as well.

Any help that you can provide will make a huge difference.

Here's a photo of Tosh (7), Jessica, and Maya (11)

Maya and her Aunt Jupi (Juniper) on her wedding day:


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Debra Feldstein 
Aptos, CA
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