Archive for January, 2010

Columbus, Ohio, sheriff’s Deputies Candy Clark donated one of her kidneys to fellow deputy Neil Branson.

“My parents always brought me up to be nice and courteous and kind and it literally pays off,” Branson said. “There were people I didn’t even know that were willing to get on the list to see if they were a match.”

But the match was closer at hand.

“I was proud to do it,” Clark said. “I was glad to do and they let me be a part of what’s going on.”

Hurray for Becky Schutter, whose generosity led to a kidney transplant for 28-year-old Rita Gonzalez. Rita’s mom, Yolanda Flores, works for Becky in housekeeping services at Colorado Plains Medical Center.

“One day I took a long, hard look at the situation and asked myself what could I do to help, and why couldn’t I give one of my kidneys?” said Schutter.

Becky’s boss was floored.

“Yolanda told me that Becky was saving her daughter’s life,” Sonny Boggus said. “In all my years of serving as a CEO and being a part of the health care field, I have never witnessed such an altruistic act of kindness and devotion of a manager to her employees.”

It’s definitely going the extra mile. Looking back, Becky says:

“It really gave me a perspective on how she (Rita) must have felt. The day after surgery she remarked how good she felt in years and that she could already tell the difference, whereas I felt drained,” Schutter said. “If asked, I would do it again. There’s no greater gift than the gift of life.”

Congrats to everyone involved.

“The first reaction I get when I tell people I’m going to do this … is, ‘You’re crazy’ or ‘Why would you do this for someone you don’t know?’ ” Miller said. “But I tell them, ‘If it was your husband, your wife or your child, wouldn’t you want to do this for them? … This is someone else’s husband, wife or child, so they kind of understand.”

That’s Nancy Miller, a former dialysis nurse, who decided to donate her kidney to alleviate some of the suffering in this world. She was going to give it to a stranger, then heard a co-worker’s wife, Cindy Wickesser, needed a kidney transplant. Well, she didn’t match the wife, but they signed up for a swap, and her courage ended up in two kidney transplants!

“Cindy is my hero. She’s such a wonderful person,” said the 44-year-old Miller, who works for a company that builds power lines. “Of course there’s pain with any type of surgery, but I’ve had the flu that was worse than this. It’s not hard.”

At church, Becky Straughn heard Rebecca Mitchell’s concerns about her son, Trey, who needed a kidney transplant. Hmm, she thought. I have a kidney I’m not really using. …

“I thought about it all that day and tried to come up with reasons I should not do it, but couldn’t think of any. The next morning I told my husband, Lawrence, what I wanted to do and his exact words were, ‘Go for it.’”

Becky had some pain after the kidney transplant surgery, but said it was totally worth it.

“Trey was so sick and so limited in what he could do,” Straughn said. “I felt he should not have to wait for someone to die before he got a kidney. It is important for me that people know that this can be done.”

Thanks for setting a great example, Becky!

Patrick Lofky and Jay Beshoar were close before, but they’re closer now. When Jay’s kidneys failed, cousin Patrick decided to get tested to see if he could be a living kidney donor.

“I wasn’t nervous about anything,” Lofky said. “I just kind of did it when I found out the others couldn’t (donate).”

As it should be. Not sure what they did to these boys, because the article says they’ll both be back to normal in a year. I was shopping in SoHo two days later. Maybe it’s the idea that the remaining kidney grows to compensate for the removal of the first one.

When Ray Andrade needed a kidney transplant, and his only available relative was not a match, friend and co-worker Merri Lazenby had a plan. Over lunch at the Chicagoland hospital where they worked, she told Ray that he could have one of her kidneys.

Other than being co-workers, Andrade and Lazenby did not know each other well before this surgery. When Lazenby was filling out paperwork for the procedure, she realized she did not even know Andrade’s last name.

Ain’t it the truth? The paperwork assumes that you’re family and know each other’s DOB, SSN, etc. I was like, “Um, you’ll have to ask him.”

“Andrade needs the kidney and because he is in his 60s he would have sat on a donation list for a long time and maybe never had a chance at a kidney,” Lazenby said.

Share your spare!

Vegas suburbanite Jerry McElroy took a spin through when he decided to donate a kidney. There, he found Wisconsin resident Peggy Ponche, who was very much in need of a kidney transplant. Jerry credits his decision in part to … his dog?

“The reason I felt like doing it is because as humans we can live off of one kidney, and I’ve been blessed with a wonderful dog and a healthy body,” he said.

Go, Jerry!

This isn’t a living donor story, but a big shout-out goes to Vaughan Crequer, who towed an ambulance with a would-be kidney transplant recipient through a blizzard to the hospital.

Ooops. The kidney was still stuck somewhere in the snow. So back he went and towed in the vehicle that contained the organs, too. Way to go, sir.

Freckles and all, Atlanta’s Giovanni Santos is a happy kidney kid these days. Through a swap with a Texas family, his mother donated a kidney and he received a life-giving kidney transplant from a stranger.

He has a few words about his home dialysis machine:

“I’m going to ask my dad if I can get a hammer” a mischievous Giovanni said. “I’m going to get a hammer and (smash it) …because I’m tired of that.”

Danny Flood’s daughters worked the Internet to find him a kidney transplant, locating a 48-year-old donor through Craigslist a year ago. (Aside: Isn’t it interesting that most living donors are women ages 45 to 55? As a woman, age 45 to 55, I find it very interesting.)

“Everything is absolutely fantastic,” said Flood. … “It’s put everything in perspective. I try to live one day at a time and be a good person.”

Danny’s daughters have started The Flood Sisters’ Kidney Foundation of America to spread awareness of the alternative ways people can find living organ donors. Great to have you aboard, ladies.