By Jennifer Flood
We are three sisters (left, with NBCNewYork’s Cat Greenleaf) from New York who had one out of the box idea: to post an ad on Craigslist for a living donor for our father after he was diagnosed with kidney disease.
We were not compatible to donate to him, so we put the word out there to the universe! I am a nurse, my twin sister works in finance on Wall Street and our other sister is a social worker and Columbia University alumni. We had used Craigslist for selling our jewelry, advertising, looking for jobs and finding childcare (I’m a single mom). We figured it had worked for everything else so why not a living donor for Dad?
After a year and four months, much publicity and more than 100 responses, an unknown woman from Monterey, Calif. donated her kidney to our father. Today, they are both doing amazing!
Out of our journey with our father, we decided we wanted to help others in need, so we launched a nonprofit kidney foundation, The Flood Sisters Kidney Foundation of America. Our foundation matches those in need of a kidney with a donor. We also educate the world on kidney health.
So far, we’ve saved three lives, and our fourth transplant was on Sept. 18. We connected a 17-year-old young man Adam McCleskey with his cousin’s friend, Brett Conerly Hartmann, through our organization. The successful surgery was performed at John Hopkins Medical Center with world renown transplant surgeon, Dr. Robert Montgomery.
McCleskey has been on dialysis all of his life and has polycystic kidney disease along with high antibodies, which make it harder for him to receive a suitable match. McCleskey’s mother donated to him a few years ago and the surgery did not go well. As a result, his mother’s kidney was damaged during the surgery.
McCleskey’s cousin, Mackenzie Denton, tested for McCleskey and she was not a match. Finally, Denton’s friend, Hartmann saw how much this meant to her and decided he would test for McCleskey. Sure enough, the transplant team confirmed that Hartmann was a match. It was a miracle for everyone and our first transplant surgery to watch besides our dad’s. In one day, McCleskey went from being a very unhealthy, struggling and unhappy young adult to a very healthy, vibrant and happy teenager. Our organization gave him hope again.
At Flood Sisters, we educate the world on kidney health and organ donor awareness, as well as making sure those waiting for a kidney donor, receive one. At the end of the day we know our work is complete when another life has been saved.
Our story is simple. It is a message that conveys the courage to go beyond the norm and act upon it. It is only through courage, persistence, hope and love that we can start saving lives together.
To learn more about the Flood Sisters or to help out with their charity visit www.floodsisters.org.
Photo courtesy of the Flood Sisters.