‘Tis the season of giving and receiving. For most people, they are thinking about shopping for that perfect gift or anticipating what wonderful surprises wait under the tree, but what if all you were wishing for, for Christmas was a new kidney? Or a new heart? Or a number of other items that may be the difference to your living to see another Christmas?
For several people in our community that is a wish they have almost daily, and for others that wish has come true!
Many people in Forks would recognize or already know Sue Liedtke. She is a regular at the WEBPA drawing during the holidays and many also know she has been waiting for a kidney for a very long time. As she has waited and received dialysis friends have held garage sales and other fundraisers to assist with her travel costs and other expenses as she waited … and waited. Due to a rare blood type, her wait was longer than some.
But for Thanksgiving, Sue got her new kidney! She is currently recovering and friends say she is already feeling better.
Another Forks resident, Mary Monteleone Raben, is also known to many Forks residents as a nurse at Forks Community Hospital, or as the owner of Pacific Pizza and taking your pizza order.
Mary was also waiting for a kidney, and she received her gift of life last year.
The following is excerpted from an article that appeared on the Everett Herald website on Sunday, Dec. 2:
“Parker Lang, 18, died March 11, 2016, after being hit by a car on the Bothell-Everett Highway. A 2015 Jackson High School graduate, he was struck on a rainy night while walking home from work at a Mill Creek store.
And then there’s Mary Monteleone Raben. The Forks woman never met Lang, but part of him is always with her. “Parker’s my hero,” she said. Last year, the now 54-year-old Raben received a transplanted kidney. Lang was an organ donor.
Three days after Lang’s death, on March 14, 2016, she had surgery at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. While recovering, she wrote a letter of thanks to her donor’s family, not knowing Moore’s identity.”
Mary met Lang’s mother last December and recently they came together again for a tribute to the young man that was an organ donor.
“At the tribute, his mom, his best friend and the Raben helped put finishing touches on a floral portrait of Lang that will be part of the Donate Life Rose Parade Float. With images called ‘floragraphs’ of Lang and 42 other organ donors, the float will join dozens of other floats, marching bands and equestrian groups in the 2018 Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, Calif.”
Kidneys are the most commonly transplanted organ — and the most in need. While waiting for a kidney transplant, many patients can undergo daily dialysis treatments to clean toxins out of blood. Some conditions that could make a kidney transplant necessary are high blood pressure, diabetes, and cystic kidney disease. Kidneys can be preserved outside of the body for up to 36 hours before transplant into a recipient. Transplants are blood typed and matched for the size and weight of donor.
There are more than 93,000 people on the kidney transplant waiting list, according to the Living Kidney Donor Network. The wait for a deceased donor could be five years and, in some states, it is closer to 10 years.
The happiness of organ recipients also means that somebody somewhere has died and either they have signed a donor card or family has made an amazing and generous decision at a time of terrible sadness.
Signing a donor card, registry or driver’s license is a good first step in designating your wishes about donation, but letting your family or other loved ones know about your decision is vitally important. That’s because family members are often asked to give consent for a loved one’s donation, so it’s important that they know your wishes.
If you are curious about organ donation or are considering, it check out www.donatelife.net. You can sign up there or find information that might help answer questions.
So hope that you never have to say, “All I want for Christmas is life,” and consider giving the ultimate gift …