This blog is a collection of journal entries written by Laura LoTempio. Laura and her mom Ellie, were the first family to participate in the Paired Kidney Exchange Program at ECMC Buffalo. Laura donated one of her healthy kidneys to a complete stranger, so that her mom, Ellie, could receive a healthy kidney from an anonymous living donor.
Part 1 (July 31, 2019)
"Hello! My name is Laura and this is one of my best friends, Ellie, I call her Mom.
My mother has been sick and in need of a kidney transplant for some time now. Unfortunately, my father, my older sister, and I were unable to donate directly to her due to us all being different blood types.
There are over 90,000 people currently waiting for a kidney transplant in the U.S. When I heard of a new pilot program through ECMC to create a system to start lowering this number, I grew very hopeful.
I attended an educational meeting at ECMC about this new paired donation program where information was given about people on the transplant waiting list that could be matched with other donor families in the same situation (family not the same blood type). What a grand idea!
I filled out a simple form with basic information that started the process to become a living organ donor. My goal is to help my mother keep living a quality of life that enables her to enjoy the things she would like to do! We were given two kidneys and you only require one to live.
As my father says after donating his kidney to a complete stranger after seeing the fantastic benefits of transplantation....'One to live, one to give!'"
Part 2 (August 9, 2019)
"My mother has recieved the gift of life from our new hero, an anonymous donor, last week. The kidney transplant was a great success and was astounded how wonderful my mom was doing after surgery.
A special thank you to the donor, kidney transplant team, and everyone at ECMC that made this happen!
Home from the hospital after only 2 days, we sat outside around a campfire the following evening. My sister flew in from Philadelphia to help my father take care of mom, so it was great to be all together during this exciting time.
A few more days and it will be my turn to donate my kidney. I am not nervous at all! I feel comforted knowing I am in good hands at ECMC and have such an amazing family to take care of me while I recover!"
Part 3 (August 21, 2019)
"The day of my kidney donation surgery had come! Multiple transplant team staff came in for quick visits to prepare me for the operating room before the anesthesiologist put me to sleep. The nurses kept me comfortable as soon as I awoke in recovery. My abdomen was sore but was nothing overwhelming.
After spending the night resting, the next morning I was able to walk a bit, eat a little and visit with family. Later that very day I arrived home, now in the care of my loving husband, Tony. He helped me do anything I asked so I could heal at my own pace. Seath and Sara (my son and his girlfriend) came to the house for support, too.
My mom was still doing fantastic with her recent transplant recovery and she remarked about the excellent outcome of recieving a living donor kidney.
Only a week has gone by and I am doing almost everything I had before, including being back to work - I feel WONDERFUL! Couldn't be happier to have made the choice to donate with the Paired Kidney Exchange Program at ECMC."
Thank you, Laura, for sharing your story and for being an advocate for living organ donation! We wish the best for you and your mother during your recovery. To learn more about kidney healthy and kidney donation, please visit the Kidney Foundation of WNY.