Tag Archive | donor match

A Perfect Match


By NILS KONGSHAUG | Good Morning America 

Caitlin knew she was in love, but giving her heart to Jonathan was not an easy choice. Because Jonathan needed more than a heart; he needed a kidney, and his prospects of finding one were close to zero.

He faced a bleak future. But in the end, Caitlin turned out to be the perfect match not only for his heart but also for his health. And today they are heading into a future far brighter than the one they imagined on their wedding day last October.

Jonathan and Caitlin Woodlief met three years ago at seminary school in Dallas. Soon after they began dating, his health began to deteriorate.

“Dating was really difficult,” Caitlin says. “You’re trying to figure out how much to put your heart on the line, like any dating situation. But now I have to decide whether or not to go with him to chemo treatments. It’s scary and intimidating dealing with a big disease.”

The disease was lupus, and it was the second time around for Jonathan, which made the stakes much higher.

When he was 18, Jonathan had his first kidney transplant. The donor was his mother. It is very rare for lupus to return in the donated kidney, but just as Jonathan and Caitlin were falling in love, that’s what happened.

It is far more difficult to find a matching donor for a patient who has already had one transplant because the body has built up new antibodies.

Fewer than one in 100 people could provide Jonathan a kidney his body would accept. Doctors told him he would probably spend the next 15 years or more on dialysis, waiting for a match, his health deteriorating all the time.

“It was a rough year for us,” Jonathan says, “and a tough decision.”

Jonathan went from “superhealthy” to increasingly being in the hospital, sometimes for long stretches. He was in the hospital when he first met Caitlin’s parents.

“That was humbling,” he says, “me wanting to be a man who could provide and love her, and being insecure about my health.”

“There were days that really take your breath away,” Caitlin says, “when you think about the weight of the situation … just how sick he was.”

“One thing helped,” Caitlin says, as she wrestled with whether or not to tie her life to a very sick man. “He would have done the same for me.”

A month after the wedding, Jonathan went on the transplant list, which meant the search for a donor could begin.

Caitlin went with some of their friends to be tested. One by one they called to report they were not a match.

Then, at the end of January, the news no one expected: Caitlin herself was a match.

“It’s like hitting the lottery,” said transplant surgeon Dr. David Cronin. “Practically speaking,” he said, patients like Jonathan have almost no chance of finding a matching donor.

After more testing, and still more testing to be sure, the newlyweds went into surgery on Tuesday at the transplant center at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

In the prep room together, Jonathan, the old hand in hospitals, reassured his wife, who had never been under anesthetic.

“I was pretty nervous,” she admits.

Caitlin went into the operating room first, and an hour later they called for Jonathan.

Caitlin is back at home already. Jonathan joins her there today and they can begin planning for the healthy future they didn’t think they would get.

“Swimming and jumping and running and playing basketball,” is first on the list, Caitlin says. Jonathan is a big basketball player.

“Further down the road, we’d love to start a family,” Caitlin says. “That was on the back burner until all this came together.”

But Jonathan and Caitlin, now graduates of that Christian seminary school, are not just thinking of themselves.

“A lot of our story has been shaped by suffering,” Jonathan says, “so we want to work with other people who are suffering.”

Jonathan is thinking of ministry, maybe overseas. He spent a year studying in China and his good health makes a return there possible. Caitlin trained as a music therapist and wants to incorporate that into her career.

“We’ve had a big detour here,” Jonathan says. Now, thanks to his perfect match, they are back on track.

source: http://gma.yahoo.com/man-kidney-disease-finds-perfect-match-bride-150429183–abc-news-wellness.html

Sisters Find Donor Kidney on Craigslist


Three sisters help others find organ donors after finding one for their father on Craigslist.

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.

source: http://www.tonic.com/article/kidney-donation-craigslist-survivors-club/

Photo courtesy of the Flood Sisters.