As I mentioned in a previous post, Jordan and I went to MUSC the other day so he could be tested and, we hoped, donate a kidney to our friend Vicky. She is in end stage renal disease from complications of Sjogren's, an autoimmune disease. For reasons we don't yet understand, Jordan is not the donor Vicky is awaiting. Just when we were getting ready to drive over for the second day of testing, Jordan got a phone call from someone on the transplant team. We were told that Jordan's right kidney is doing 94% of the work and his left one is doing only 6%. Jordan is fine with the one kidney; overall, his kidney function is excellent. But they would have left Jordan with the stronger kidney, and a kidney doing only 6% of the work wouldn't have done Vicky any good. This is a disappointment, but we feel there is a reason for it. There may be an even better match out there for Vicky, but that person just hasn't been tested yet.
Jordan wanted to give Vicky his kidney because he loves to help people. In all the years I've known him I don't think I've ever seen him deny someone something they needed if he had it to give. Usually it's been, for instance, a stranger who needs a few bucks or someone who needs help with a computer. When I told him he was Vicky's blood type and asked him if he might want to get tested, he saw it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve God. How many times in our lives are we able to be part of such a miracle as renewing someone's energy to live and work each day? To give someone more time with her children? There is no greater happiness than to look at your life and see that, whatever has happened, you are being used by God for some good purpose. It's why we are here.
The other day while I waited at the hospital for Jordan to get out of a test, I spent a few minutes catching up on my favorite blogs. I came across this post about service from Kristin's blog and a bit of scripture I'd seen many times but hadn't recently thought of. Jesus said "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me" (Matthew 25:40). What an honor to be able to help someone in need!
If you feel so moved, please come forward and be tested to be a kidney donor for Vicky. Her possible donors will be blood type A or O, but if yours is different there's a possibility of working out a paired donation (literally a swap) with another recipient. The testing begins with a simple health questionnaire, and the entire first phase (including blood tests) can be done locally where it is convenient for you. You will not be responsible for the cost of testing; it will be billed to Vicky's insurance. Your information will not be shared with anyone--not even Vicky--and only you and the transplant team will know where you are in the testing process. You can live a long and healthy life with one kidney, and the surgery is now done laparoscopically for a quick recovery (2-6 weeks, similar to recovery from an uncomplicated childbirth). If you want to be tested or need more information, please email me (see my profile for address) and I will get you the contact info for the transplant team coordinator.
Maybe you aren't able to give a kidney but you'd like to help Vicky in another way. A monetary donation can be made for her here through the National Transplant Assistance Fund to help with out-of-pocket expenses not covered by her insurance. The costs of a kidney transplant are many and great. Please pray that a kidney for Vicky will be found soon. It would also be wonderful if you could link up to this post or email it to anyone you know who might want to help. For more about Vicky, visit her two blogs: Sjogren's and Me (about her illness) and 2LilPumpkins (about her life with her husband and two boys). One thing is for sure: She's a hardworking, loving young mom who deserves a happily ever after!