Archive for the 'Family' Category
Two days after their wedding, Kelley Agard donated one of her kidneys to her new husband, Rick White. In sickness and in health, indeed.
“She saved my life, she made my life worth saving,” says a smiling Rick.
Marcus Balters is a surgeon, who recently needed a kidney transplant after years of heart and kidney issues. His brother, Matt, stepped up to the plate to donate one of his kidneys.
With dry humor, Matt recalls the conversation last fall this way. His brother said, “Remember when you told me you’d donate a kidney if I needed it?”
“I remember thinking to myself, ‘I never said anything like that. That conversation must have slipped my mind.’”
But there was no decision to mull over. Marcus needed a kidney, and Matt would provide it.
And so he did, in July. Matt continues his own struggle against chronic depression. Which is so hard because the treatment is to try one thing and then another until something works. So far, nothing has worked.
So … Matt, way to do a really great thing for your brother. And hang in there with the depression. New treatments come out all the time; you are not the depression, and the depression is not you. There is hope.
Kim Vargas has had kidney trouble for years, caused by lupus. Her mom, Meleia Sanders, wanted to donate a kidney but at first, Kim said no.
“But she turned it around and said I would do it for (my kids) Keeton and Mia, and she was right.”
“We had about one week to get our ducks in a row — everything turned into a whirlwind as soon as we got that call,” she said. “We had to get ready and fly out to Denver right away.”
Kim is nearly speechlessly grateful.
“I don’t know [if] there is a way you could completely show your gratitude,” she said.
Flavia and Bill Walton were part of a very large kidney swap, involving 14 donor-recipient pairs.
“To see someone that you love most [in] the world deteriorate is a sense of helplessness and powerlessness that you just cannot comprehend unless you’ve been there. But to be able to do something is so empowering, but it is such a blessing,” says Flavia.
And good for them. These swaps are bringing healthy kidneys from living donors to patients. Kidneys from living donors are less likely to fail and tend to last twice as long as kidneys from deceased donors.
Kidney swaps bring donors to the table who in all likelihood would never have donated a kidney otherwise. Yet the expert in this article says that he worries swaps will push people on the list farther down and make them wait longer.
“We at least want to be fair with the people on the wait list who don’t have a family member available. Being fair might mean waiting a trivial extra amount of time, but we certainly don’t want to make those people wait years extra just because of the swap arrangements,” says Professor Robert Veatsch of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University.
It doesn’t seem like there is an ethical issue here. If the donors in a chain donation are all friends and relatives of kidney patients, everyone gets a kidney from someone who was probably never going to be an altruistic donor for a stranger on the UNOS list.
And a lot of swaps start with an altruistic donor, who in theory, could have gone to the next person on the official list and donated there. But what happens in swaps that begin with a stranger is that a kidney at the other end of the chain does go to someone on the list.
Veatsch, whom I don’t mean to pick on, raises another very typical ethical concern about kidney donation, that compensation such as a tax break “taints altruism.”
I don’t feel tainted when I deduct my donation to a charity. How is a tax break for donating an organ any different?
It is important to think through the ethics of what we do, but our primary ethical obligation is to save lives and get out of the way of people who would like to do it. I am hoping that as we sort through these new ways to get an organ, that happens more and more.
Adorable 12-year-old Ellie Cook is feeling so much better after a kidney transplant ended three years of dialysis, thanks to her uncle Mark Wallis.
“Ellie is like a different child because she is just like a normal kid now. Without blowing my own trumpet, I am extremely proud of what I did and now I am just thrilled to bits for her.
“It’s not only because it is making Ellie better but it has also given my sister and her son Jamie their life back because they were tied to a machine.”
Ellie is a girl of few words.
“I don’t know what I would say to my uncle but just a big thank you and that it is something I will never forget.”
Congrats to all.
Lee Adams donated a kidney a few years ago to her brother-in-law. Since then, she’s held a country concert every year to benefit living kidney donation. This year, Lee’s hoping the event will raise $10,000.
Proceeds go to the University of Maryland Medical Clinic Living Organ Donor Clinic, which offers free testing and care for living kidney donors, among others.
The event is tomorrow night; good luck, girl.
South African 7-year-old Innocent Mphimola is doing great after his dad, William Mphimola, donated a kidney to him last fall. each has a small scar and a big smile.
They look relaxed and healthy and William says he’s suffered no adverse reaction since the kidney transplant. “I’m just very happy I could help my boy,” he says.
Andrew and Daniel Williams are both doing nicely after Andrew became a living kidney donor for Daniel last week.
Daniel recalls being a bit emotional as the two were wheeled into surgery for the kidney transplant.
“I saw him as he was going past the ward on the operating table. He just waved at me and I was in tears as he was being wheeled away.”
Andrew said he wasn’t too worried about being a kidney donor.
“I wasn’t too worried about myself. I was just thinking ‘as long as it takes’ – I was worried that Daniel’s body might reject the organ.”
So far, so good, says Daniel.
“As soon as I opened my eyes I knew I was better. “I’ve reacted to it really well, it’s given me a new lease of life.
“I have an appetite for the first time in months and my eyes are clear – before my eyes were red all the time.”
Abby Vara was recently honored as ambassador of Ottawa’s Give the Gift of Life Walk for donating a kidney to her dad, Erampamoorthy Varaprasatham. She’s happy to do it, but doesn’t think her kidney donation was such a big deal.
“I don’t feel like I gave anything up. It was something I did to help my family. … It’s weird when people say I did something amazing,” she said.
Was she worried about the surgery? Not so much.
“I definitely wasn’t scared for myself,” she said. “I was worried for my dad. I’d give up my life for my dad’s.”
One year later, with her dad in much better health, the college student wants others to understand the importance of living kidney donation.
“My goal is to help people who are thinking of donating and sharing my story,” she said. “I want to let them know that it’s so worthwhile. One thing is to understand the risks, but my dad is worth the world, and we had such an amazing outcome from it.”
Twin brothers Alan and Brian DeVale, 14, had a condition that would eventually lead to kidney failure. A while back, Alan needed a kidney transplant, and his dad, Brian, was a living kidney donor for him.
It was a matter of time until young Brian needed a kidney transplant, too. Mom Evette Leavy was determined to lose the weight doctors said she’d need to lose to donate a kidney to Brian.
“I had to do it,” said Leavy, 44, a guidance counselor at Intermediate School 318 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. ”I couldn’t bear the thought of him going on dialysis. You’d do anything for your kids.”
Brian is appreciative; their kidney transplant was performed on July 22.
“I feel grateful that my mom would work so hard to give me a kidney,” he said. “I’m feeling a lot better now.”