Almost 15 years ago, I was diagnosed with a hereditary kidney disease that has affected my mother, brother, and many others in our family. In October 2017, I was told by my nephrologist that it was time to prepare for dialysis and go through the process of joining a kidney transplant program and getting on the waiting list for a kidney. Because I am fairly young and still actively teaching high school English and journalism and being a wife and mom, and because I want to keep doing these things as long as possible, I decided that a preemptive transplant was my best option. That means I would have a transplant before I ever have to begin dialysis.
While dialysis is a lifesaving treatment for those in kidney failure, it takes a toll, over time, and causes many health problems and possibly a much shorter life. And the side effects can greatly decrease quality of life, as well. Many people wait for over a decade for a kidney from UNOS, waiting for someone to die who has signed an organ donor card. The number of people who need a kidney is at least three times the number of kidneys that are donated after death each year. To avoid the wait and the poor health that comes with years of dialysis, I'm seeking a live donor. It seems that will happen very soon, which is a miracle. So I could be having a transplant in a matter of months instead of in a matter of years.
That's the good news. I am so thankful I for my situation; I know many people are much sicker and have fewer options. I have pretty good insurance as a teacher, but I will still have a hefty out-of-pocket cost and deductible to meet. I also must have the funds before surgery to cover travel to Birmingham and hotel and meals for three weeks in Birmingham. That is for me and for a caregiver I'm required to have with me at all times. So, if I found a kidney today, I'd still have to raise funds for these major expenses before I can even think about surgery. I need to raise these funds as soon as possible, since I could have a donor within a couple of months.
To make sure I'm ready financially as soon as a kidney donor is found, I started this campaign after several good friends urged me to. It's not easy asking people for an organ or money, but I am trying to do anything necessary to make sure I can live a healthy life and continue to be productive. Thanks so much for reading this. And please add me to your prayers.
Also, if you want to look into donating a kidney to me or someone else, contact UAB Hospital at 1-[phone redacted], or (205) [phone redacted]. They have a "kidney chain" program that greatly reduces the time it takes to find a matching donor by finding matches across a large group of donors and recipients who have agreed to be part of the program. Check it out on the UAB Kidney Transplant webpage ( http://www.uab.edu/kidneychain/).
- Catherine Thompson
- Rhonda Eick
- Makayla Scott
- Kyla Cousin
- Tierra Williams
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